When to start teaching vibrato (and how)?
I'm just curious as to when vibrato should be taught (after what point?) and the best way to start.
I don't remember exactly when I started, or if my teacher specifically said "let's start vibrato". I think I just kind of started experimenting and copying what I saw being done (resulting in some bad techniques that I'm working out).
I've got an eighth grade student (she's 14) who isn't the most amazing player, but she tries, for the most part. She's doing the Bach Bouree from Suzuki 3 right now, and just started Wohlfhart etudes over the summer (on number 2 right now). She has a tendency to play "surface sound" and doesn't like to play out unless I'm playing with her. She says she's afraid to play out (been there!) She also still has some intonation issues.
So, I'm wondering if it's too early to start vibrato, or if introducing it will make her more confident because it could potentially make her sound better? Even I'm working on intonation (aren't we all?), so I'm also not sure if we should get her intonation more solid on straight tones before starting vibrato. (Tips on how to get her to play out are also much appreciated. I can only say "give me more sound/dig in" so many times)
Hi! I've heard from many teachers that you can start learning vibrato when you can play clearly (at least) in 1st position :)
I start when the students asks me about it!
I like to wait till the student can play in third position and shift smoothly before I start them on vibrato.... on the other hand, if they're being introduced to vibrato in the school orchestra before that, I have to work with them on it earlier.
Seems early. I’ve been told when a student plays with good intonation and core sound in 1st position, and can shift from first to third.
About making her play out: If you played duos with her would that help? You prodding her with your tone rather than in words?
Albrecht, I usually play along with her, and she's okay, but I overpower her every time and play with the correct technique that I'm looking for from her.
I agree that the ability to shift smoothly is a useful prerequisite because often a student can produce a more effective vibrato there initially.
Tom, I agree. I was a long term substitute for the teacher, and every time I see those kids they tell me how much they miss me and how we got so much more done in the month I was there than the whole year with the normal teacher. I told my student that her teacher is so wrong for saying what she says and that the E string is gorgeous when it's played confidently.
To return to the question (!) I don't teach a "real" vibrato straight away, but right from the beginning I induce a few basic motions before the main substance of each lesson: shifting up & down along the neck to avoid gripping, stretching and curling the fingers along the strings to avoid pressing too hard, and enable (hopefully) intonation correction.
On the other question, why on earth should a young child play loudly if it hurts? Most adult violinists have damaged hearing (a good violin produces nearly 100dB measured right under the ear - I measured it!) It is utterly outrageous to subject a child with more sensitve hearing than ours to a damaged cochlea. To my innocent mind, this constitutes physical abuse.
What child abuse ? Isn't that excessive overthinking? Where did OP say that the student's ear hurts if she plays loudly? She said the student like to play "surface sound" which I assume the bow would glide over the strings with little to no pressure.
How many of us actually stop to consider
I mean, playing loudly doesn't mean you have to blast your ears off. Playing softly and sweetly is all nice and great for your own enjoyment, but most of us will have to play for someone else one day. You also have to know how to play with loud dynamic so audience can hear you.
For a few children, playing loudly hurts. I was like that, and after putting up with comments about my temperament, I later discovered the simple expediency of a dedicated plug in my left ear, to reduce both the volume and the "aggressive" high frequencies. This permitted me to play for others with success! A number of v.com adult posters (probably not a majority) have raised the issue.
I don't teach vibrato until the student is playing consistently in tune with a correct left hand position and is shifting smoothly between first to third.
If she is afraid she sounds bad perhaps a discussion about how different an instrument sounds under the ear as opposed to a distance away.
Kristen, have you tried
"Ears are as varied as noses!" And there are twice as many.
Adrian, her violin is fine. Even with the metal strings on it (from the rental place), it actually sounds good. We're changing her strings to warm up the tone a bit, but the instrument is fine. She hasn't said anything hurts, so she is just timid and needs to break out of her shell a bit.
She sounds like she’s a while away from vibrato. Fix the fundamentals first.
When I first glanced at the title of this thread I misread it as "When to start teaching vibrato and howl".
Im no teacher, so dont listen to me :D but does a teacher have to decide these things so much beforehand?
Maria, I'm not sure about starting her yet because sometimes her intonation issues are pretty severe. I think I'm going to wait and get her fundamentals more solid.
I agree with all the great feedback so far: I teach shifting to third first, allow some time to go by. If tension and "suface sound" is an issue I try to tackle that, then delve into vibrato. Sometimes the schools introduce it before we private teachers do, and then we have no choice but to go with it, even if it's ahead of schedule. If the student is playing out of tune or has another big issue, I have dangled teaching vibrato as a reward, ie. for fixing their achilles heal.
Thank you Susanna! I will definitely check out your YouTube for my student, and I'll probably use those exercises for myself! My own vibrato is lovely sometimes and other times not so much. I'm working on making it more consistent.
Here's my 2 cents. If a student is having problems with intonation I would hold off on vibrato until the intonation is more under control. Vibrato can interfere with intonation. If the notes are out of tune a beautiful vibrato won't help and also the sound is effected with faulty intonation. It's much easier to concentrate on playing in tune with a pure tone. I also would have the student learn to use a flat bow and play closer to the bridge. You need to use more weight on the bow and draw it slower to get a good sound but you learn to draw out the maximum sound the fiddle has to give you. The weight should come from the arm through the wrist and not from pressing with the index finger. With that said a lot of teachers like to begin with the wrist vibrato which is usually easier to manage. Whether you use wrist or arm the object is to get the first joint of the playing finger activated. Begin slowly and in time increase the speed only as much as you can control comfortably and without additional stress.
Hello from Wales, UK... Here's some wide vibrato for you... Merry Christmas! https://youtu.be/ur9LXkDkItM
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