How to Make a Violin Shoulder Rest

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Although some noted music schools such as Juilliard discourage the use of shoulder rests, most violinist prefer to have some sort of support for their instrument. You can purchase a violin shoulder rest at nearly any music store, but there are also plenty of ways to make your own. The homemade ones are sometimes even more comfortable than the commercial ones, and have been used by Isaac Stern and other famous performers.

How to Make a Violin Shoulder Rest
(Anna Susanne Eriksson/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Small terry-cloth towel
  • Felt
  • Sponge
  • Foam padding
  • Rubber bands
Step 1

Cut a piece of thick felt that's about 8 by 8 inches.

Anna Susanne Eriksson/Demand Media
Step 2

Fold it in half and lay it across the back of your violin.

Anna Susanne Eriksson/Demand Media
Step 3

Hook a rubber band from the button to the bottom left corner (as shown in the picture). This is the best shoulder rest for someone who needs to control slippage but does not want a thick support.

Anna Susanne Eriksson/Demand Media
Step 4

Make a thicker support by finding a standard size sponge and attaching it in a similar manner.

Anna Susanne Eriksson/Demand Media
Step 5

Purchase foam padding at a craft store if you need a thicker pad. This can be cut to size.

Anna Susanne Eriksson/Demand Media
Step 6

Fold a small terry-cloth towel over the back, button and chin rest of the violin. Hold the towel in place with your chin as you play; no rubber band is needed. This is the method that famous violinist Isaac Stern used.

Anna Susanne Eriksson/Demand Media

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