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So I've been playing (if you'd like to call it that! 😀 ) the violin for about 9 weeks now.
1. I attempted vibrato last night and tonight. OMG. Can you say...cat giving birth backward to a baby rhino while bouncing in a flatbed truck off-roading in the Outback? Yeah, it was that, or maybe a bit worse. It sounds bad and...it's hard. It feels like rubbing my tummy and patting my head at the same time. Does this get better...? I've been watching so many vids...it looks so logical...then I get my hands on it and start wiggling and by God but if that poor violin had a face it would be grimacing in pain.
2. I just started trying to "draw out" notes instead of quickies (i.e. instead of quarter-notes). My bow seems to sort of slip and slide sideways and it sounds "wavy". It would be great for a scifi movie soundtrack but for basic tunes, not so much.
Anyone have any ideas for me? Especially on the second one. Do I have too much rosin on my bow, maybe? On the vibrato...does anyone else feel as I do...or did you in the beginning? That it's so odd and hard to have your two hands do two such drastically different things?
I've only just begun vibrato for a few weeks now. It felt just like you said at first, 🙂 but my muscles are getting used to the motion. My teacher stressed starting painfully slow, 2 motions per bow stroke, so you make a horrible "waaaa-waaaa" sound. And she also told me to practice the motion while watching tv, and not bowing. So I do that every night when it's too late to play. I can't do anything other than slow scales with it, but it's a slow process.
For the bowing, I suggest checking out Fiddlerman's smooth bowing video... I'll try to find the link and come back and put it here. That's the one that made it click for me how to bow better. Oh, I still go crooked when I'm learning a new song, but overall I feel I can keep my bow pretty straight. It's just all training your muscles these new motions.
Editing to add the link to the bowing video: https://fiddlerman.com/tutorials/advanced-tutorials/finger-flexibility-for-smooth-bow-changes/
This one just clicked for me, along with making sure you don't start moving your shoulder back, which you can start to want to do trying to use the whole bow, just concentrate on using your fingers, wrist and elbow for the motion. You'll get it 🙂
World's Okayest Fiddler
Can you say...cat giving birth backward to a baby rhino while bouncing in a flatbed truck off-roading in the Outback?
LOL, got my laughing! That's a great description!
I'm feeling the same way as far as vibrato goes, I too have watched video after video, especially and the last week, I'm able to do the movement on almost everything, except for the violin. The minute I hold my violin and try to do it, nothing goes.
As far as the bow slipping sideways, I have that happen also, mostly with new songs, but sometimes with stuff I have played for a while too. I think it has to do mainly with the wrist and some with the fingers. (Someone correct me if I'm mistaken!)
It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach
There is an endless inquiry of how to vibrato.
I believe a major factor to consider in vibrato is the right hand. I mean it has took myself well over a year before I learned vibrato. To clarify and expedite this overlooked factor is to explain that one must be able to first play a smooth melody; that is music that is not choppy. You need to be able to tie and slur notes together before you learn vibrato. Otherwise you won't have proper timing and lack expression to utilize this vibrato.
For myself, I execute vibrato to put emphasis on an expression. That more or less frequently lands on a note well into a particular phrase. And phrases, are generally slurred and tied together therefor vibrato can be used throughout phrases.
Attempt to play three or four different notes and vibrato on the last note, however these notes must be played on detaché or a fluid bow stroke. No choppy music it must flow I.E. That right must be articulate and nimble in its execution of up and down bows.
Quiet frankly, you must first learn to play music before you can vibrato, and reading music is not the same as playing music. I mean my linguistics seem incompetent to express this... You must flow with the bow to vibrato. If you do not flow your body mechanics are single functional and are not intertwining, therefore shaking the left hand is impossible.
Rubbing tummy and patting head is a precise analogy; that is in essence playing the violin.
So work on playing the violin smoothly and then vibrato will come naturally.
p.s. The vibrato does not connect notes. The bow connects those notes. So until you can connect notes, the vibrato is unattainable because you have not any [connected] length to vibrato.
Hello and welcome, @BowMeAway !
I can't tell you how to do vibrato on the violin, because I haven't acquired this skill as of yet. It's different on the cello, but that doesn't help you here. It doesn't help me, either. I do know when to employ it. You put it on some of the longer notes, to emphasize them, just like when you sing. You get a feel for it as you progress, but for now, don't sweat it, you're doing fine.
Now, as for the bowing problem...this I can help with, because it happens to me on all three instruments. It's not too much rosin, and it may not be not enough rosin, it could be in your bowing technique. Get a large mirror, and play long notes standing in front of it. As you know (but I'll remind you, anyway), your bow must travel parallel to the bridge, and this is what you're looking for. The way to do this is by using the wrist and elbow; keep your shoulder relaxed. Once you're able to get the bow to go where you need it to go, take notice of exactly what your arm is doing to achieve this, and learn to do this without the mirror. The muscle memory will kick in after a while, which is why I begin my practice sessions with long notes on the open strings, just to remind myself and my arm what the bowing arm is supposed to be doing. The general bowing will become second nature, just like anything else you do well without even thinking about it, such as walking.
I hope all this helps.
Good tips everyone... I am a vibrato desperato... still after four years... that being said, I don't think about it or obsess about it as much a I used to.
Some things are happening with my bowing that make me sound a bit better so that is my happy spot right now.
Cheers... and happy Vibrating.
Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato
coolpinkone The best advice I can give, is to practice the motion slowly and exaggerated, slow annoying "waaaaa-waaaaaa" sounds. I did it mostly without bowing, while watching tv, reading on the internet, etc. I think I've been doing that about 3 months now, and my teacher said I'm almost ready for incorporating it into songs. I didn't stress about my practice, and sometimes would go over a week without doing it at all. It wasn't my main focus. Now that I nearly have it, I'm being more careful with my practice, using a metronome and trying to slowly build the speed up to its final place. You can do it 🙂 I have faith in you! 🙂
World's Okayest Fiddler
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