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bryan

Suit jackets

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What do you men violinists do about your shoulder rest / pad when it comes time to perform with the already shoulder padded suit jackets? Do you compensate somehow for the thicker shoulder?

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I lowered the legs on my Kun to adjust. I then left them lowered and like the position, so next time I will lower them more I suppose. I have tried to see if there was enough padding to go restless, not for me at least.

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It never occurred to me that it might be a problem and I've been doing it, one suit or another for the first 30 years and in the same old tux now for the next 25.

One thing I did do one orchestra concert last year, I just wore my (Joshua Bell style) long-sleeved black shirt that hangs out over my trousers. I reasoned that if the women have a choice between dressing like that, with a dress, OR with a tux, whys shouldn't the men??? Anything less would qualify as harassment, right?

Andy

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Anything less would qualify as harassment, right?

Andy


Only to a point. If you decide to emulate the spagetti straps or strapless fashions the lady soloists are wearing these days, YOU may be guilty of harassment -- of the audience.

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On a related note, does anybody besides me feel that the long sleeve shirt and jacket (maybe even with a vest, if you're in a tux) restricts your movement, especially the bow arm? I find performing solo in a full tux is extremely restrictive and uncomfortable.

What if there were a specifically desiged shirt and jacket made especially for violinists? Say a full cut shirt w/ short sleeves, long cuffs (to give the impression of wearing long sleeves) perhaps fastened by elastic around the elbow. Combine this with a very lightly structured (or lightly lined) jacket with a little extra room in the upper chest area.

I haven't tried it, as I would of course, look ridiculous if I removed the jacket, but I think we'd sound a hell of a lot better...or at the very least, we'd feel more comfortable.

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It makes sense to buy the loosest fitting and most comfortable jacket or tux you can find. Then you might want to take it to a taylor to have it adjusted so that there is no binding in the arms anywhere.

I can recall some very good male student players at Indiana University (years ago) used to practice with jackets on -- a well worn practice jacket, not the tux jacket of performance. This allowed them to stick a pad between jacket and shoulder (Isaac Stern fashion) so that they didn't need a shoulder rest.

It also meant that there wasn't that much of a difference in playing in the practice room and on stage, in terms of how the fiddle felt. That is, if a jacket caused any hindrance, by playing with one on all the time, you got used to compensating for it. In a sense every practice session was, literally, a dress rehearsal, and did what dress rehearsals are supposed to do -- prepare you for the feel of the actual performance.

Maybe that's why Heifetz insisted that male students wear coat and tie at lessons.

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>I find performing solo in a full tux is extremely restrictive and uncomfortable.

I totally agree. I once had a pit orcherstra job where we were allowed to wear black turtle necks instead of a tux. This was a vast improvement in comfort and I wish it was standard concert attire instead.

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Combine this with a very lightly structured (or lightly lined) jacket with a little extra room in the upper chest area.


My husband gets his jackets custom-made with extra room through the shoulders. Works great for concerts, although if he were to wear them anywhere else it would look like they're not fitted properly.

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How about one sleeve longer for violists?

Neckties must be uncomfortable. A perfectly flat tie that looks from a distance like it has a knot in it would be an improvement.

Iversola - Your fake cuffs could be sewn right into the jacket sleeve-ends.

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Like Erika's husband, I asked for my suit to be made with a little extra room in the shoulders. It works like a charm, and I don't think it's visibly larger. The other "trick" is to find dress clothes made of light, comfortable material. You can always add another undershirt, but really - when was the last time you were chilly in a concert? Go with light.

I have worn a tie in performance maybe once in the last three years. I hate ties! Shirts with mandarin collars are vastly more comfortable, look sharp with a jacket, and don't need a tie! Of course, bow ties are unavoidable, but a nice soft flexible bow tie is worth the investment over one of those hard-as-a-rock, tightly knotted contraptions...

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I feel for the gentlemen, but us ladies have wardrobe issues as well. Many have gone to the strapless/thin strap look because the fabrics that dresses are made are very slippery. Flounces are definitely out and THANK YOU LORD, the football player shoulder pads went out with the 80's!

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I was at the Hollywood Bowl last night for Gil Shaham's performance of Beethoven's Violin Concerto. We are in the middle of a heat wave (100+F in the daytime) Shaham was on first and the orchestra was all wearing their neat white coats. After the intermission, when they came back to play Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, All but two had shed their coats and gone to shirtsleeves - Concert Master included; or leading?

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