How to Do VibratoSep 21, 2023
Welcome to your first foray into learning vibrato!
While many students want to jump into this right away, most violin teachers agree: there are some prerequisites.
In order to learn vibrato, you must:
- Be comfortable using the bow, and have a reliably beautiful tone.
Otherwise, when you try vibrating with the left hand, the bow will shake in the right hand.
- Have reliable intonation.
Some people think using vibrato will fix their intonation. In fact, you'd just be playing an out of tune vibrato. First you must be able to hit the right pitch every time, then you can vary the pitch with vibrato.
- Have a relaxed left hand.
If you are squeezing the neck, you will not be able to vibrate. First work on playing without squeezing your left hand thumb. Vibrato is 90% passive movement, so if your hand is frozen, your vibrato will be too.
- Knowing how to shift first is helpful, since then you'll already have familiarity with the arm movement associated with one type of vibrato.
There are many popular vibrato exercises. Different exercises resonate with different students, so try them all and keep using the ones that you find the most helpful. Check back here from time to time and you will see new exercises added.
From his book Warming Up
Additional: I also like this teacher's explanation of passive versus active movements.
Try Vibrato in these pieces. Practice vibrating every single note:
Download PDF on this page.