Teaching something you were never "taught."
In recent conversations with my students as well as a friend from the forum the topic of "Vibrato" has come up. My problem is that while I can do a good wrist-finger vibrato, I was never taught - it just evolved and one day (a very long time ago) surprised both my teacher and me.
Now my students are asking me how to create that vibrato sound themselves. I know that the "Nike Slogan" (just do it) will not satisfy them.
Perhaps it is time to ask another teacher to assist. Maybe it is time for them to move-on but I still have stuff I want to teach them.
Your thoughts will be appreciated.
It's usually like that. My teacher kept telling me the fundamentals, I remember trying for some time, until one day I "suddenly" understood how it works and it came out, I knew how to vibrate.
If something is important, it is human nature to actually keep thinking about it and working on it without necessarily being fully aware that it's on our minds. Then, one day, we suddenly get an "insight" seemingly out of nowhere. That's one way our minds work, and we all experience it - that sudden insight or action that some part of our brain has been working on. That's what a psychologist would say. (Fortunately, I'm a psychologist....most of the time, anyway)
I think Flesch has both good conceptual insights, and a few exercises meant to stimulate different aspects of vibrato.
I was methodically taught -- and later re-taught -- a wrist vibrato, by different teachers at different times in my life. I was also taught an arm vibrato by someone teaching a masterclass.
Why use autodidacts as a reference... This is just one of the many reasons why the violin isn't for autodidacts, at least not like a guitar or a piano for the intermediate amateur level. I never saw an autodidact with proper posture and sound production, of course they will need tons of exercises to develop some sort of vibrato. They need tons of exercises for everything and it will always still look unnatural.
OK, I too found a decent vibrato on my own.
I also taught myself vibrato. I was taking lessons, but my teacher had not yet introduced vibrato or vibrato exercises. I would go to symphony concerts and study the concertmaster’s vibrato and experiment. Luckily I ended up with a decent arm vibrato and no bad habits. I have since learned wrist vibrato, but still tend to default to arm vibrato.
May I "re-print" an old post!
I taught myself vibrato as a child. My childhood teacher (of 10 years) did not really intervene. Later, as an adult, when I restarted violin, I was glad to at least have my old vibrato back!
Ingrid, I'm under the impression that modern Suzuki now normally teaches vibrato in Book 2 (with the Brahms Waltz) rather than in Book 4 (as was common in my childhood).
Vibrato in Book 2. And calculus in the 6th grade.
Lydia, I think it is becoming more common to teach it in book 2 (along with starting shifting), although I still see many teachers who wait until later (usually book 3, rather than 4, these days, though).
Although I had 7 years of violin lessons before I was 12 years old I had not learned vibrato - the subject never came up, in fact I never got beyond 3rd position - all that I learned later on my own. I loved the sound of my last teacher's violin playing during the final 2 years at MSM, but never learned how to do that.
Same here Lydia, I was taught it in book 4 right along with Vivaldi's A Minor...Did your teacher also give you a 35mm film case to fill with beads and rattle it with your wrist?
My teacher started mentioning it in Book 3, but I think that as that was about the time Covid changed things that it's been challenging for him to teach it remotely. We're now in Book 4 (2nd Seitz - though really focusing on two outside pieces right now). I wouldn't cally my wrist vibrato polished - by no means, but I can actually do it now. That's a beginning.
My impression was that Vivaldi A minor is (used to be) the pinnacle of a Suzuki beginner's achievement...now you are playing real pieces (lol) and you venture it into reading, shifting, and vibrato and in Japan, you were probably 6 years old. My students are (will be) older by Vivaldi and it has made sense to start reading in book 1 and shifting in book 2. I was not systematic about teaching vibrato, barely remember how I taught it to my early students, don't remember how I was taught other than it was in book 4 along with the other stuff, but as the distance learning wore on, had several students pushing book 4 who needed to get started rather than wait for the pandemic to be "over".
Here is a violinist.com post that has vibrato exercises for developing the motion that you can introduce your student to. https://www.violinist.com/blog/susannaviolin/20207/28377/
Rebecca, that brought back memories I had totally forgotten about! Yes, but filled with pennies rather than beads. I did a fair chunk of "polishing the fingerboard" with a finger on a folded kleenex to get a gliding feeling.
I notice that the single most common problem for self-taught vibrato is that it tends to be fast, tense, and uncontrolled, and dies after just a few back-and-forth motions. My guess is that many autodidacts tend to rush into trying to do everything at full speed rather than practice slowly, resulting in vibrato being an arm or hand twitch rather than a sustained motion. The biggest problem seems to be impatience, rather than any particular difficulty learning the correct technique.
May I make a suggestion?
“May I make a suggestion?” is probably okay in a teaching studio. The student is there to seek your suggestions, but it depends on the teacher-student relationship and communication styles.
Teaching vibrato is relatively easy, if you know how to do it. It is a real cop out if you say, "don't worry, it will come." Many of the above methods are standard and work.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.