Practice Violin Vibrato without a Violin.
I am a violin restater at 47 y.o after 20 yrs of hiatus. The last level when I left violin was Suzuki 4 and Wohlfahrt book 2, but not yet vibrato.
Twoset Violin succesfully made my mood to play a violin back (although I really hate their viola jokes - I also used to be a violist in a non-music university orchestra).
The hiatus is a complete muscle memory cleaning, I can barely draw the bow. But it is good, since it also cleans out my bad playing habit that hindered technique development a long time ago. It's like a second chance in life to play a violin - this time - correctly.
I am picking up by playing Wohlfahrt, and now my intonation skills have come back.
I think my time to play pieces with vibrato has come, so I decide to practice vibrato. Unfortunately, before I start to practice vibrato, my violin has to be repaired and it will take 1-2 months because of the queue in a luthier.
Many people suggest that I practice on a desk while waiting for my violin done. I wonder :
1. How effective is it to practice vibrato on a desk to improve vibrato skills, based on your experience?
2. Is it better to practice on a viola instead of on a desk? In this case I guess I dont hv to care about the intonation production since viola muscle memory is different from violin, in Viola we need to flex finger muscle more. I am afraid paying attention to intonation in viola will disrupt my violin muscle memory again.
I can't say that I ever recommended someone practice vibrato on a desk given the angle is so different. However, my dad who is a cellist and was a profound influence on me would teach one to vibrate with their fingers on one's right forearm. The angle is definitely more similar to that of a cello, but by lifting the arm into a higher position, you may be able to somewhat recreate the violin position.
Thank you, Richard.
I agree that practicing vibrato on a viola will help with your violin vibrato - perhaps a little way up the neck to account for the different elbow angle. - or on any VSA. I have some doubts about attempting vibrato on to the right forearm out in front of you because of the way it involves additional muscles and nerves in a different way than they will be used when actually playing.
@Kuntarini Rahsilawati, I am like you. I took a hiatus for several years after college before picking up the violin again.
Kuntarini, you should not be concerned too much about viola playing spoiling your intonation on violin. Although muscle memory plays a big role, intonation is accomplished with our ears anyway. When I (as a late starting adult, and still not a profound intermediate level player by far) started with viola, it even boosted my progress on the violin at a sudden, in all ways - especially sound production and bowing technique in general, but also a large chop in intonation and shifting. The more you train your mental flexibility, the easier and more natural / organic your playing will be. It's not exaggerated when I'm saying that taking up the viola (a 42/37,5cm so not one of the tiniest btw) allowed me to make one year's progress on violin within a month, measured on my pace until then.
To practice vibrato without a violin, get a box of tic tacs or something else of similar size that rattles. Hold the tic tacs in your left hand between middle finger and thumb, with your hand and arm in air violin position. Shake the box in a vibrato-like motion; the rattle inside will tell you how even your motion is.
Thank you Andrew Victor, Ben David, Nuska M and Mary Ellen Goree.
From Kuntarini Rahsilawati:
Sounds like another repair job for your luthier... And if he's at it, and your viola's market value isn't too high he could narrow the fingerboard for you. This, in combination with tilting the instrument, makes playing a larger instrument much easier.
Kuntarini, you can definitely practice vib without an instrument, although I agree also that you can also ask your Luthier for a loaner. I second the tick tack suggestion, and also practicing vib on the arm (stick out your right arm straight in front of you and pretend you right wrist is the neck of the violin. If you are looking for some vib exercises, take a look at the playlist of 11 ways to practice vibI made for my students a while back below. Glad you got back into it!
Thank you Ben David, Nuuska and Susanna Klein.
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