Bridget said: Jun 28, 2007
Suzuki Association Member
Littleton, CO
2 posts

When do you start teaching vibrato?

Gabriel Villasurda said: Jun 30, 2007
Gabriel VillasurdaViolin, Viola
81 posts

Other members seem silent, so I’ll add my 2 cents.

I wait for the following aspects of playing to be right and consistently right.

  1. All posture and hand position considerations are correct.

  2. Tone is strong and bow straight.

  3. Student can play all the chromatic alterations required in Book III in tune—B flat, Half position, etc., etc.

Then I go back to Aunt Rhody or some other Book I piece to illustrate vibrato.

Sometimes the student beats me to the punch and tries vibrato on his own. Just be sure that vibrato doesn’t hide bad intonation or bad tone.

Any disagreements out there?

Gabe Villasurda

Gabriel Villasurda
Ann Arbor MI

Connie Sunday said: Jun 30, 2007
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Gabriel Villasurda

Any disagreements out there?

No, that sounds exactly right to me. They also often beat me to the punch. I have this mini-lecture I deliver regarding the types of vibrato, how in the Baroque era, vibrato was considered to be an ornament..versus the “continuous vibrato” of modern practice. How vibrato is different in different pieces and styles, like a painter using many different colors. I have prints of Picasso and Klee in my studio, to help make the point.


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said: Jun 2, 2008
 18 posts

To take this thread in another direction, which “checkpoints” do you moniter after introducing vibrato?

For instance, I’ve had a few students acclimate well to vibrato, but there’s always one in every bunch who throws the teacher for a loop! My latest student learning vibrato is moving her wrist and arm in an agreeable motion, yet the instrument also moves back and forth with her. I believed at first the problem was due to a lax violin hold or holding on too tightly with the left hand. After we worked on these areas, the problem was alleviated, but still persists. I’m not sure what to do with her at this point…

Connie Sunday said: Jun 3, 2008
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

>> Just be sure that vibrato doesn’t hide bad intonation or bad tone.

Or that it’s not applied to everything, nervously. That nervous vibrato sometimes sneaks in. I talk about the notion in the Baroque that vibrato was thought of as an ornament, and the “smaltzy” vibrato used by players in the early 20th century, versus the younger players now.

Same with portamento. I try to illustrate with recordings.

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Debbie said: Jun 3, 2008
Debbie MiViolin
138 posts

One vibrato exercise that has helped my students a lot is to put their scrolls up against walls. I usually have them put a piece of rubber shelf-liner between their scrolls and the walls so that they don’t slip or scratch their violins. But, this exercise might really help the student who tends to move the violin with the vibrato.

I know that for myself, it really was one of the main things that helped me develop a good vibrato.

Also, I love the vibrato exercises in Simeon Fischer’s Basics book. Especially the ones that help to release the joints and finger pressure during vibrato.

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