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Okay, over the past few weeks, learning vibrato seemed nearly impossible for me to do! I tried numerous exercises and practice techniques with no luck. Last week, I stumbled on a version of finger vibrato (pressing/releasing finger) which gave somewhat of a vibrato sound, but didn't sound too great.
Thanks to everybody's wonderful advice here, I learned that I was gripping too tight (death grip of the neck) and needed to loosen up.
This morning, I picked up my fiddle for a little jam time and…….there it was! Full arm vibrato while bowing!! Well, my first 2 fingers anyways! LOL I'm still working on the others! I had a feeling that when it came, it would be out of nowhere!
I wanted to share with everyone my problems, the advice that worked for me and HOW it worked for me!
Arm/Hand/Finger stiffness (death grip on neck), Locked Thumb/bad position, Not trusting my violin position on my shoulder, Coordination with bowing
Advice That Worked For Me:
- Adjust the angle of my fingers to add a little more pad on the string due to my double jointedness. New angle prevented my fingers from "locking down."
- Slide fingers up and down the strings while relaxing arm/hand/fingers. Sliding motion introduced the proper movement I wanted my hand & arm to do while using vibrato. I slowly reduced the distance I would slide and eventually held the note while my hand went through the motion.
- Adjust height of shoulder pad/focus on proper violin position. After doing this, I relied less on my hand/arm to support my fiddle and in turn, loosened my grip on the neck.
- Hold a note while sliding my thumb along side the neck. By doing this exercise, I stopped my thumb from clenching down when I pressed notes, allowing my hand to move a little more freely.
- Practice the vibrato motion until it becomes more natural and you don't have to think about it as much; then add bowing in. This advice freed up my left arm from my right, helping my coordination!
- Stretch, stretch and stretch!! I slowly stretched my hands and arms in the different positions I put them in while playing! Wow, did that help!!
Thanks to everybody's advice and words of encouragement here, I was able to pull off vibrato! It still needs work as it sounds a little forced at times. I still have to figure out a way to loosen my 3rd and 4th fingers as well, but I do see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Thanks FM & everybody!! Hopefully, I can share what helped me and it can help someone else!
EJ, that's exciting news! I'm so happy for you. I had a fleeting moment of success with the wrist vibrato, but it was very short-lived. All it did was encourage me to keep trying. I know that someday I'll have a real breakthrough like you did. Well done!
Thats great EJ. Same kinda thing happened with double stops for me. I just couldn't get it down at all then one day I picked up my violin and all of the sudden I just started playing them no problem.
i'm still having major issues with vibrato. I've played guitar for so long and it's a completely different style of vibrato.
Yes, a different style. That's the same problem with the cello vibrato versus the violin vibrato. The cello vibrato is described by some as a "robot wave". All the action is in the elbow and the forearm moves up and down. Very different from violin.
Thanks for the congrats everyone! But you don't have to thank me for those tips! They were found here on this site as many of you contributed! I just condensed them from FM's videos and your awesome forum posts!
I would post a video going through the scales, but I need to get my other fingers working! LOL My 3rd and 4th fingers are reluctant to budge. Plus, I need to work on my hand/finger placement on the G & E string. Vibrato takes a ton of extra effort on those strings for some reason!
Also, does anybody else travel up/down the strings when doing vibrato? I'm not sure if I'm still gripping too tight with my left hand or not holding tight enough with my shoulder/chin. Occasionally, I'll slide up or down on the string.
…Also, does anybody else travel up/down the strings when doing vibrato? I'm not sure if I'm still gripping too tight with my left hand or not holding tight enough with my shoulder/chin. Occasionally, I'll slide up or down on the string.
Yep! I do sometimes, when press too much, or in opposit – not enough …happens…
I'm still working on relaxing the left hand. Like I start fine then stress up and my hand hurts. I'm not there yet. Which is kinda stupid because I don't use my hand to hold the violin, the neck/shoulder can do the job, so why am I gripping that handle to hard?
I had a teacher who did a strange experiment when I was at Eastman Music Festival once. He had me stand, close my eyes and went through all the things that I should relax one by one until I felt that I had turned all my muscles off except what was necessary for me to stand. Then he said OK open your eyes and he proceeded to ask me how much time had gone by. I said, "I guess about 10 minutes" he replied that I had been standing there for 40 minutes. His teaching was all about using exactly the energy needed for the particular task and not more. We are all very guilty of using energy where we do not need to.
It's weird how even the little things can make you tense up! I even tense up from the excitement of stringing together a few measures of good notes! I'm constantly reminding myself to relax. I sometimes even take my left hand off the violin completely to sort of "reset" myself during a rest!
Good work EJ. Im gonna work into my practice some of your routine.
I found already that to help get that hand, finger, or arm rythum motion going in the right direct, while using the bow alone in my left hand with fingers in violin position lightly grasping the wood, I rest the frog end across my right shoulder and push and pull as though I were sawing my right shoulder in half (hair facing up). My fingers are about in the same position as if they were resting on an imaginary fingerboard. I sit there for a while sawing away then grab my fiddle…I can then vibrate aukwardly but successfully for a few seconds….but then I loose that wrist motion. a few minutes more sawing my shoulder and I go back to the fiddle again. Each time I repeat the process, i feel more sucessful…. I am attempting to train the applicable muscles to work for me rather than against me. Grasping the bow lightly helps I believe to sensitise my fingers.
Give me a few more days and I might catch up with you
I sometimes grasp the bow too tightly as well! I've noticed that when I loosen my left hand, somehow, somewhere, something else tightens up! LOL Lately, when I practice vibrato, it's my jaw! I tend to clench my teeth when hitting vibrato. If I stop, my right arm tenses up! Who'd of thought?
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