It has been one year since my first blog post and Funny thing is I just realized that I am a blogger. Interestingly enough, over the span of this last year, I have avoided the topic of vibrato. If you follow my youtube videos – not one of them is about vibrato. If you follow my posts, you realize not one post about vibrato.
My story starts with my own personal development of vibrato. I remember very clearly how my teacher told me to practice vibrato. I was to put a sponge on the wall between the scroll of my violin and the wall to ensure that my left hand was only focused on vibrating and not holding the instrument. I remember doing this every day. I also remember that I was not happy with how I sounded when I was practicing vibrato and I would close the door to my bedroom thinking that way no one could hear how horrible I sounded. But after a week of diligent practice I had vibrato.
Later in my violin journey I developed the varying widths, speeds, and type of vibrato.
After teaching vibrato to countless students I have learned that there really is not a universal recipe of teaching vibrato. Every student was different and every vibrato that was developed had its own personality and flavor. Which is absolutely wonderful.
So....Last week I was asked during my Online Violin Scale class, “What is the SECRET to Vibrato?” I easily avoided the question and said that is for next week's class:) But if I had to say one secret and only one secret to vibrato it would be.............
A Relaxed Left Hand
It is absolutely imperative to have a relaxed hand in order to have a healthy vibrato. Yes it is true, you can vibrate with tension but who wants to listen to that and you are doing yourself more damage than good. If you find this to be happening, STOP !! Don't encourage vibrato with tension. It is better to not vibrate and wait until you can develope a relaxed vibrato.
Whenever I start to teach vibrato to a student I first ask them to demonstrate to me what they think is vibrato with their third finger on the A or D string. This lets me know what our starting point is and which vibrato that they are naturally able to do. For example if a student shows me an arm vibrato at first then that is what we focus on developing first and if they are naturally able to do a hand vibrato then that is what we develop first.
SO tips and Exercises to developing a healthy beautiful vibrato.
No matter if you are developing an arm or hand vibrato it is imperative that you start with a relaxed left hand and arm. Have a great violin hold with your jaw and shoulder and shake out your left hand. Bring your left hand to the violin completely relaxed
ARM VIBRATO EXERCISES
No matter the type of vibrato that is being developed, it is very important to feel your fingertip glued to the fingerboard and is being moved by the arm or hand.
Advanced Exercises (after the vibrato is well established)
Apply these exercises to your scale practice (ideally to a scale you feel very confident about the intonation. The purpose here is really to practice vibrato not the scale)
I know there is so much more that can be added to this list and if you have had your own personal breakthrough vibrato please share below. Vibrato, like many aspects of the violin, is a personal journey. You can have guides on your journey to help but your vibrato is truly your vibrato :)
Be TRUE...Be YOU... BE
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