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Vibrato Tips: Introduction (Part 1 of 4)

I remember when I was a beginning teacher and it was time to teach vibrato for the first time.

Whoever that first student may have been, she is definitely one step closer to sainthood because my vibrato sequence was definitely not ready to come out of the oven quite yet!

Over the years I’ve crafted a vibrato sequence I’m really happy with, and want to share with you a few of my best tools and insights.

As with the violin movement building blocks for Book 1 players, the idea is to isolate each tiny skill one at a time, then put them all together. Done in this way, it’s pretty easy. If I could go back in time and give my current sequence to my old self, she would have been over the moon.

So what are the basic components of vibrato that have to work?

  • Ability to effortlessly pivot the hand using primarily gravity
  • Ability to pivot the hand with the thumb fastened in place
  • Ability to pivot the hand with the thumb and finger fastened
  • Flexing the fingertip while maintaining a medium pressure on the string
  • Training the speed of the oscillation (automaticity and control)
  • Choosing the left-hand angle and supporting the violin

Over the coming week or so I’ll be sharing the exercises that have made the biggest difference teaching vibrato to my students.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll drop me a line with any questions or situations you’ve run into in teaching vibrato with your students. I’ll make sure to address as many of these as I can!

Write me at elise@discoverviolin.org. I look forward to hearing from you!