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Vibrato - As Explained by 7 Different Teachers

December 3, 2018, 2:23 PM · This video has been a long time in the making because the more I teach, the more I see that students respond to different ways of hearing the same thing. And the whole mosaic of teaching styles I've been exposed to all along my education path have helped shape how I play the violin today.

I can't take credit for everything in the video above. I will try to credit some of the giants of violin pedagogy from whom I most recently heard some of these tips or exercises. But some of the etudes have been passed down for generations, so for some of them, "it's turtles all the way down."

But I boiled down all these experiences into seven stereotypes of teachers, and will try to explain general elements of violin playing from their perspective.

The Scientist - Playing the violin is a physics based and scientific process. Everything is measurable in angles, ratios, velocities, and duration etc.

The Story Teller -Great with kids, always has a cute name for everything, ( a la "Mississippi Hot-Dog") and knows the best games and stories that stick with you forever.

The Etude Extraordinaire - Does he have an exercise or an etude for you?!

Monsieur Metaphor - Sometimes you just need a good metaphor or simile for it all to click.

The Feeler - Playing the violin is a physical process, posture and a wholistic approach are hugely important for preventing injuries and reducing strain.

Mr. Awesome - Loves to demonstrate and hear himself play. Natural copycats respond well. He also poignantly will imitate your bad sound with exaggeration.

Mama Tough Love - Because we all need a well intentioned kick in the pants sometimes.

I do not mean to offend any person of any nationality or gender in my stereotypical portrayals. I also have learned so much about the violin from both female and male teachers, I just look really creepy in drag, so the majority of these "characters" are male. Any resemblance to a specific person is merely coincidental unless noted below.


1:12 - I stole many of these stories from Mimi Zweig
And also from Heather Figi

3:12 - I think I stole this from
Kurt Sassmanshaus

Also you can get a Raisin Brahms Shirt from:
Audition Cafe, my website

4:48 - Straight up Five-Finger Discounted this from:
Nathan Cole

6:27 - I swiped this from the man himself:
Itzhak Perlman

8:45 - Again, from the Queen: Mimi Zweig

10:26 - Yes, I am channeling some of my undergrad teacher Cyrus Forough in this segment. Thank you, and I'm sorry.


December 4, 2018 at 06:38 AM · Michael, thank you! What a hoot!!!

Is werrry nise!

December 4, 2018 at 04:38 PM · Oh my goodness - this is just brilliant!! ??I recognise all those teachers!!

December 4, 2018 at 09:42 PM · Love it! I wish it was there when I was struggling with vibrato. Oh wait, I still am...

December 5, 2018 at 10:38 AM · This is awesome. Thanks for the video. I'll definitely check out your other videos on the channel.

December 5, 2018 at 01:36 PM · priceless! one thing though that is not mentioned is the bowing aspect of it. I find that a note with vibrato needs firmer bowing (a bit faster, with a bit more weight) than without vibrato. that even applies to playing pianissimo, you're not going to play forte of course, but still the bowing will a little bit firmer. anybody else has this experience?

December 5, 2018 at 10:31 PM · That is excellent! Very funny, yet totally informative at the same time. Perfect!

And Pierre's expressions were great too.

December 6, 2018 at 06:19 AM · That was great! Thank you so much! :) made me morning (and whole day)

December 6, 2018 at 06:50 AM · Loved it! Had me laughing continuously! Thanks!

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