I took off the chin rest on my violin. It didn't seem to do much to improve comfort, but the metal piece that clamps it to the violin had started to scuff the varnish on the back. I have not missed it at all. Hidersine, the rosin makers, also make inexpensive little phials containing something for coating pegs. It looks liked greased soot but does the business. On bowing, I keep the bow hair fairly tight and springy, and dig it firmly into the strings about an inch from the bridge. Playing softly is a technique best learned second, that is, after playing loudly. It is better to try to come to softness from a position of strength than the other way about.