Arm of hand vibrato first?
Watching the crazy techers teach vibrato-video got me thinking, which is the more common way of teaching vibrato: wrist-vibrato or arm-vibrato first? I mean in the video its mostly wrist-vibrato and finger-vibrato, right?
Me and my girl have been taught arm-vibrato so far only, so the wrist-vibrato obviously looks so tense to my unexperienced eyes.
So which were you taught first and which do you teach first? And was it easy or difficult for you compared to other learning stuff? Is there any connection with the age of the student; if adults learn wrist-vibrato first better for example? Im thinking in the lines of younger children having more flexible and relaxed joints than adult starters.
I got taught arm vibrato but couldn't do it at all. For me it felt so forced and my violin would shake a lot.
I've heard two different takes on this:
I taught myself an arm vibrato when I was in middle school (my teacher hadn't started teaching me vibrato yet), and I apparently learned it well enough that no one really commented on my vibrato until my grad school professor encouraged me to learn wrist vibrato to add variety. I still use primarily arm vibrato, but have recently been working on developing my wrist vibrato more.
They are both equally useful tools.
Teachers should mostly be careful that neither is tense (neither wrist or finger vibrato are tense, despite what it may appear), and that it sounds good, not justs merely "passable". It is a skill that requires patience and musical experience/knowledge to master, as it's not only being able to do one (or all) of the types, but varying its usage according to passages even within the same work (and often, there are many possibilities, but also certain "no-nos" a player should follow.) But coming back the first point, it must be relaxed so that it can go as fast or slow as it needs to be, without any hand strain or squeezing of the instrument.
Arm vibrato uses more energy than wrist vibrato in direct proportion to the relative masses of hand and arm. My experience has been that with age it becomes more difficult to perform arm than hand vibrato.
For teaching vibrato, I start with the motion of the finger, with the fiddle held like a guitar. If the finger tip is not rotating, there is no point in what they do with their arm or wrist.
My vibrato looks like a hand vibrato but is in fact the tip of an integrated "underwater plant" wave motion in the whole forearm.
Interestingly I was never "taught" vibrato. It simply appeared on day. Mine is more finger/wrist based and does not involve the entire arm. Is it "perfect?" Nope. It adds the color that I want to add when I want to add it.
I figured out vibrato on my own too. My childhood teacher encouraged me to do that. Then, 30 years later, my adulthood teacher had to rebuild it from scratch.
I hope my mother's carpal tunnel syndrome isn't hereditary!
I teach wrist first when the student is comfortable in 3rd position.
Personally I find wrist vibrato a lot easier than arm. But I ended up using arm vibrato more because it looks more dramatic and ‘violinistic’. I think that’s why most soloists on stage tend to emphasise arm vibrato a bit more. I never saw a soloist who use almost exclusively wrist.
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