Printer-friendly version

How NOT To Move Your Violin or Viola when Practicing Vibrato

Zlata Brouwer

Written by
Published: December 10, 2014 at 8:49 AM [UTC]

This video is about how to practice your vibrato without moving your violin or viola.

Lots of people can’t wait to learn vibrato, because it makes your tone so much more beautiful than without.

Once you have learned vibrato it’s easy breezy, but to learn vibrato is quite difficult. Learning vibrato can be a very long journey.

While doing vibrato exercises like the big sirene (click here for vibrato exercises), it can be difficult to keep your violin or viola in the same position.

There are two things that can cause this problem:

1) You can be moving in the wrong direction. Vibrato only ‘works’ when you move in the direction of the string. Vibrato sound is achieved by lengthening and shorting the string with your finger. By doing this the tone goes up and down a little bit, which sounds like vibrato.

When you move your finger not in the direction of the string, but from left to right or sideways, you will not hear vibrato. Besides that your violin will move from the left to the right too and can slip of your shoulder and fall on the ground.

2) Vibrato must be done in a relaxed way. Violin or viola playing is already difficult enough and you have to do a lot of things at the same time. This multitasking can tense you up.

When your arm and hand are tensed, you can’t do the right vibrato movement. Besides that you can’t play well when you are tensed. Vibrato must be done very lose and mustn’t cost any effort.

Practicing vibrato should start with a big relaxed movement which you make smaller and smaller into a relaxed fluent vibrato. When you skip a couple of essential steps and force your hand to do vibrato right away in a robotic uncontrolled way, you will shake the violin with this rough movement. 

When you do it the wrong way, your vibrato will sound like you put your fingers into a power point. This is a check to know your vibrato is too tensed.

These two points or one of them are probably the cause of your violin or viola moving while practicing vibrato. Please note that these tips are long term solutions and take some time. You will not see results in two seconds.

Slowly build up your vibrato exercises step by step. Don’t skip anything or rush it. You will automate the movement and your hand will start to know what movement you want. In this way you are programming your motor skills.

Would you like to watch more free vibrato tutorials? Click here! 

Is this useful to you? Please let me know in the comments below!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine