Eleanor Bennett said: Jul 30, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Villa Rica, GA
62 posts

Any suggestions for fixing a vibrato that is too fast?

Eleanor Bennett

Eleanor Bennett

Elizabeth Caddy said: Jul 30, 2014
Elizabeth Caddy
Suzuki Association Member
Chicago, IL
1 posts

If the vibrato is uncontrollably fast, then there is tension in the hand. Check the inside of the hand by the 3rd and 4th fingers to make sure it is soft when exercising vibrato on the 1st and 2nd fingers. This helps create a wider, softer, freer, more controlled vibrato. Likewise, check the inside of the hand for softness by the thumb, 1st finger, and 2nd finger when exercising vibrato on the 3rd and 4th fingers.

Another area to check for tension is in the knuckles. Both joints should be flexible—not locked.

I have my students practice vibrato at 3 speeds initially. Sometimes I will use a metronome at 60bpm and ask my students to practice one rock back and forth per beat, and then increase to two rocks back and forth per beat, then three, then four, etc. I increase the number incrementally over several weeks, depending on progress.

I hope this helps!

Danielle Gomez Kravitz said: Jul 31, 2014
Danielle Gomez Kravitz
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
59 posts

Another trick I’ve learned is to not let the pad at the base of the index finger touch the instrument. So when the student is first learning vibrato the only anchor she has is the thumb.

This forces either the wrist of the arm to be the thing to move the joint. It also removes the possibility of squeezing, which is usually what causes the tight sound in the first place.

Sue Hunt said: Jul 31, 2014
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
390 posts

There is one more tension spot that we often overlook and this is the shoulder. If you are gripping the violin between the chin and shoulder. It is like putting a kink in a garden hose; the water (energy) can’t flow through. You can try this out by tensing up the muscles in your upper arm and shoulder and then trying to shake the hand and fingers loosely. It won’t happen.

The bottom line is a good chin and shoulder rest set up.

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