Our Equipment Criterion, Designs and Partnerships
Violinist in Balance is not an equipment producer. Instead, we wish to create and stimulated multiple equipment options for players and teachers, based on sound ergonomic principles. Musicians generally work in isolation wrestling with difficult physical issues for themselves and their students. We hope, in partnership with others, to allow for musicians to make their own informed, supported decisions and to have the equipment to back them up easily. For this reason, we are working currently on a three-tiered system of equipment and fitting techniques:
- 3D printed and hand-made custom chin rest and collar bone sets, made to order after a series of consultations with us in Utrecht, the Netherlands. This is the recommended path for the professional and serious amateur player. Fitting teams in other countries are currently being formed. We have now committed ourselves to creating chin rest and shoulder rest fitting sets that meet healthy equipment criteria, and establishing a network of trained, licensed consultants. We remain dedicated to a customised fit in our equipment, combined with retraining of cramped playing habits through lessons in the Alexander Technique and newly developed Balancing Games for violinists and violists.
- We are currently fitting individual clients at our offices in the Netherlands.
- We wish to create and find, stimulate or find commercially available sets, which we feel may help you in fitting your students, or yourself. These more basic models come much closer to fitting our Equipment Criterion for healthy options that do not hinder the player. We strive for partnerships with other innovators and producers to make better solutions that are readily available. See the Basic Chin Rest Series at the bottom of the page. See further: "What you can do"
Violinist in Balance
Equipment should allow you to secure the instrument:
- In the most suitable playing position for bowing and fingering
- With a simple turn and nod of the head
- While maintaining healthy poise (head on spine)
- While allowing you to move to play
- Without pressing on vital tissues (throat, arteries, breast)
- Without pressure or displacement of jaw or skull bones
Continuing education and ergonomic research
This year, the Violinist in Balance team is completing a new round of research at the Utrecht Conservatoire and the Oundle School (for children) in England to develop chin rest and shoulder rest series that promote playing ease and a superlative technique. A Symposium on our findings will be held at the Oundle School on June 9, 2013. There we will launch our new chin rest and shoulder rest fitting series and our curriculum for schools to promote healthy playing for children, amateurs and professionals. Our equipment and educational work is based on twenty years of research and field experience with clients from around the world.
Our first independent team of consultants and fitters i
s being set up at the Oundle School in England to create custom sets of equipment for their own students, and to support their new Violinist in Balance curriculum. A free online textbook provides guidelines on how to fit and use your equipment, including advice on unlearning cramped playing habits, so that the player can rediscover the freedom and balance that superlative playing requires.
How do we measure you for your chin rest and shoulder rest?
We start by measuring the chin rest using our specially designed equipment from Lies Muller of Muziek en Ambacht, Utrecht. We use a small Chin Rest Measuring Table, attached to your violin in the same place as your chin rest goes, and then, placing the violin in the desired playing position on the collar bone, we measure the distance between the table and your jaw. We can then assemble for you on the spot a trial chin rest using our Modular Chin Rest Kit.
From these measurements we can determine if you can use a chin rest from our new Basic Chin Rest Series which was developed by Violinist in Balance with Willem Bouman and Sons in the Hague (see below). Many professionals and eager amateurs choose to have a custom chin rest made by us.
Our Plateau Collar Bone Rest fitting series is then adjusted to fill up the space in between the chest and the violin. Its special wedge-shaped design provides support where you need it, without interfering with your shoulder joints or chest muscles. Click here to read more about why it is a collar bone rest! This new rest was developed by Violinist in Balance with Niek Gersen of Niek's Fabriek, Amsterdam.
We then order your customised set of chin rest and shoulder rest, based on our precision measurements. At a follow-up visit we check that the chin rest and shoulder rest work together in a dynamic way that gives support when needed and allows for free movement while playing.
We are working to develop workshops and training programs to help violin and viola teachers, and Alexander teachers to learn to fit students and clients using our new commercial series.
New Basic Chin Rest Series
We have begun to model commercial series of chin rests through our collaboration with the violin store Willem Bouman & Sons in the Hague. The Violinist in Balance Basic Chin Rest series provides five height options in a centrally located chin rest. A set for children and a set for adults will be made available shortly, after testing. The chin rest cup has been altered to protect the soft throat area.
Violinist in Balance in partnership with Wolf Products
Violinist in Balance is working in partnership with Wolf Product to develop new equipment based on ergonomic principles fro our research and field experience. Current projects include development and testing of a collar-bone style shoulder rest suitable for women and medium to small frames. We are currently waiting for the shipment of the first of the Equilibrio Chin Rest Series which has been developed over the last twenty years as a premier ergonomically designed chin rest.