First Time Teaching Vibrato
I'm just finishing up my Junior year of high school, and I currently have 6 violin students ranging from 6 months-2years of experience. I've been playing for 7-8 years, and been teaching for 4. I've figured out some really good ways to teach most things, but 2 of my more experienced players are interested in learning vibrato.
My issue is, I'm not totally sure how to do it. My first teacher and middle school orchestra teacher both had a method of teaching vib that was pretty much like this: go parallel to the string, watch good players, don't hold extra tension. None of this is bad advice, and I feel like I have figured out a pretty good arm vibrato using it. The problem is, this took me FOREVER (and a lot of tears) to figure out. I want to make this easier for my students, as well as teach them a wider variety of vibrato, including more wrist. (I also would like to figure this out for myself for auditions next Feb.)
Any suggestions or method books you would recommend?
Go up to the upper bout (as if you were in 5th position) and have them do the vibrato movement on the string, with the wrist more down under the violin instead of the actual 5th position. This probably sounds confusing, sorrry.
Not 5th position for me. I have them start in 3rd position, using the wrist as a hinge (this can be changed to an arm vibrato later).
I wonder if you have seen Nathan Cole's YouTube video on learning vibrato:
The professor V videos are good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zraCMnfqTso
The 'trick' to learning a fluid vibrato is to teach some finger muscles (they're in the forearm) for each finger to relax and flex, while others are contracted, at the same time, to press the finger down. Nathan Cole's exercises are useful, but some students grip the neck so firmly they can't do them properly.
I had to teach a large group of beginners vibrato at the beginning of this school year, and this seemed to work fairly well for them:
Go here and watch the great pedagogue Kurt Sassmanshaus leading an introductory vibrato exercise.
I have really appreciated Simon Fischer's approach to teaching/learning vibrato (as well as many other violin techniques). You can find a discussion of vibrato in his "Basics" book and in his "The Violin Lesson," but what I think I found most helpful (perhaps along with these books) is his book and accompanying DVD, "Warming Up."
Paul, you win the thread.
One of the most important aspects of learning vibrato is to accept that it will usually take MONTHS to get decent vibrato from a student who hasn't done it before. Some students learn it quicker, but most don't, and it also depends on how advanced they are.
Shirley Givens' has a book series called "Adventures in Violinland." Book 2C, called "Meet Vibby Vibrato" teaches the technique in a step-by-step approach with many games and exercises. She starts in 4th, then goes to 3rd, then to 1st. Worth a look!
Does Shirley's method work if you play restless?
I started on vibrato 2 years ago. I never learned it when I was a kid. It took me really long to get my hand just to do the right movement. After that I did all exercises I could find/ my teacher gave me, watched all the videos mentioned above, almost on a daily basis. After some more month I could do arm and hand vibrato but only slowly. And my bow stopped doing awkward things in parallel.
May I quote from myself, as I don't see my approach elsewhere....
I've bought the Viva Vibrato book, and it looks good from a brief readthrough, but I'm wondering how it has worked with actual real life students and teachers. Should I just return it and get a different book?
I'll have to order it!
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