Ms. George's site

Central Valley Elementary School Orchestra

Welcome to the Central Valley Orchestra page! Here you will find information about orchestra rehearsals and lessons, recordings, and important reminders to keep you informed about what we are doing in orchestra.

Shoulder rests and sponges

All violins and violas need to use either a soft foam sponge or a shoulder rest on their instruments. The reason we use these is to raise the instrument to fit comfortably between the shoulder and jaw. Posture is very important in creating a good sound and also in preventing injury. Depending on the length of your neck, you may need more or less height.

Sponges vs. Shoulder rests

Sponges are great because they are inexpensive and provide the height many students need for good posture while still being very soft and comfortable.

You can use a special sponge cut for violins and violas like the one pictured below. A lot of rental instruments come with a sponge like this. These are nice because one side is taller than the other. The taller side goes above your collar bone and the shorter side rests on your shoulder.

I personally use a shoulder rest. I like it because it is stable, stays in one place, and gives me the height that I need. It also does not touch the back of the instrument so it does not muffle the sound.

Shoulder rests come in different sizes just like violins and violas. Be sure that you are ordering the correct size for your instrument. Some shoulder rests can adjust to fit more than one size.

If you have a shorter neck and need less height, you can use a regular soft foam sponge like this:

  • I recommend the brands "Everest" and "Kun." You can buy them online at,, and locally at Van Gelder, Amadeus Strings, Music and Arts, Alto Music, etc. **PLEASE PURCHASE THE SAME SIZE AS YOUR INSTRUMENT.**
  • One downside to shoulder rests is that they are more costly than sponges. They also will not always grow with you, so you may need to buy another one when you outgrow your instrument if the shoulder rest you have does not adjust to the bigger size.

However, don't use a kitchen sponge that becomes tough when it is dried out. The sponge needs to remain soft.

If you use a sponge, attach it with two rubber bands so that it stays in place.

Everest shoulder rests for violin and viola

Available for purchase here, as well as at your local music store!

Kun shoulder rest for violin and viola

Available for purchase here, as well as at your local music store!

Cello and Bass accessories

'Stoppin' rockstops by Super-Sensitive are great for basses. They are made from a flexible plastic that grips the floor without damaging it. It also protects the floor from the endpin, which can slip or scratch the floor without a rockstop.

Available for purchase here, or through your local music store.

This Xeros rockstop is great for cellos (we use this one at school.) the loop end goes under a front chair leg, and your endpin sits in the cup, preventing your endpin from slipping or scratching the floor.

Available for purchase here, or through your local music store.

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