Several of our Violinist.com blogs got me thinking this week about vibrato and the long process required to learn to do it.
First, violin professor Susanna Klein demonstrated several clever exercises in her blog that really go to the heart of how fast to vibrate on various pitches, how to become more aware of the natural and varying tendencies of each finger for vibrato. And violinist Paul Stein, who was a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for over 35 years, confessed in his blog that $5 party-store gadget allowed him to finally articulate how vibrato actually begins.
Very often I'm teaching students their very first lessons on how to do vibrato, and while a few just do it naturally, most have to work pretty hard to make it happen - and then to refine it. If you are a seasoned violinist and want to remember the struggles of a beginner, just try putting your fiddle on your right shoulder and see how well you can vibrate with your right hand -- it's very humbling!
Most violinists go through at least a short period in which they are not happy with their personal vibrato. Others might have been happy with it at one point, but find that it’s changing over time. As we age, our fingers and arm become less fluid and new measures may need to be put in
place. (Susanna offers a wonderful exercise to help combat the aging arm.)
How do you feel about your own vibrato? Please select the answer below that most closely matches your choice and then add your comments below. Were you initially taught vibrato in a way that worked for you, or did you have to modify your vibrato as you progressed? And what kind of vibrato works best for you - wrist, arm, or both? Also, please share any suggestions from the experts that you have found most helpful.
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