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Beth Blackerby
This discussion includes members-only video content

Christina writes:

Vibrato Troubles, Part One: Admitting I Need Help

After a loooong time of never getting vibrato down, a new and fierce energy from inside me has made me accept that I cannot do this alone.  So, I have decided to tackle this problem and post my progress as well as my *lack* of progress until I get it right.

Anything insightful along the way would be welcomed and encouraged.  I look forward to hearing back from this community to see how I can improve with time and (the right) practice.  Thanks in advance, and enjoy this piece I've entitled "Vibrato Nightmare."
Beth Blackerby
22 Responses
Posted: November 23, 2012
Last Comment: January 3, 2013
Replies


Posted: January 3, 2013


Hi..some asthma medicines prove that you don't need to do exercises to get the vibrato movement down, the nerve tremors will fix that !!trouble is that both arms are affected and you also get bow bounce !   NOW FOR THE 2nd Bad Joke of the Day; Beth showed a video of a duck tape ring ,taped to the wall, to place the scroll in for stability.....well--wouldn't that stop the violin movement while first trying to implement vibrato...?

..it wouldn't be like you're being forced to practice ; eye on the ball (note) nose to the grindstone (out of control bow) and your ear to the ..ah...wall ,(to say the ground would be a bad joke !)..........please i've used the inhalers..haven't gotten to the tape ring yet :o)


Mary Reeley
Posted: January 3, 2013
By all means Lily, check with your teacher, don't mind me I'm just a magnet for information.  Thanks Mary

Lily Mo
Posted: January 3, 2013
Hi Anne and Mary

Thanks for the kind comments. I will endeavour to be a bit braver with the right arm  when the vibrato is in motion, Anne.  I will try to play something that isn't so humdrum next time. Not sure what yet, as I handed all the scores I have accumulated to my teacher in the holidays and she was putting a program together for me.  I will find out what on Monday.

Mary, since the piece was something my teacher wrote out, would you mind if I checked with her first prior to circulating, since it is her work?

Anne aMaudPowellFan
Posted: January 2, 2013
Hi Lily, I like your introductions to your videos a lot. So personal and always good natured. I watched your latest video first: your vibrato sounds very nice and even, on all fingers. Don't worry about the width. Keep it as wide as you can for a long time. It is going to sound beautiful. In fact, what I didn't like so much was your tentative bowing. But you talk about that yourself in the second video. Piano feeling in the left hand, forte feeling in the right, that's it, exactly. Good work! I should like to hear more of your playing.

Mary Reeley
Posted: January 2, 2013
Hi Lily. Your vibrato is sounding good.  Could you post the exercise you played in the 3rd position? I have been doing the vibrato exercises, I'm on step 3 and will soon be stopping the string.  Thanks. 

Lily Mo
Posted: January 2, 2013
This discussion includes members-only video content

Last entry for a while for my vibrato diary, unless of course I wake up one morning with this super gorgeous mega vibrato.  I suspect more realistically that'll take years of incremental and minute changes which I don't need to bore you all with:




Posted: December 11, 2012
Looks like your forearm should be pulled closer towards your body. Your arm should be more bent. 

Lily Mo
Posted: December 11, 2012
This discussion includes members-only video content

Sorry Chrstina for hijacking your thread I just wanted to see old progress. It helps when I feel despondent as it reminds me how far I have come up the vibrato mountain.  Here's an update on progress, listen or fast forward my wittering:


How goes your progress Christina. You were getting along pretty well.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 28, 2012
Great job, Lily!  I think your vibrato is going quite well. The knuckle flexibility is amazing, and I agree with you teacher to start integrating! I'll add the slow vibrato on a down bow, and faster vibrato on an up bow to my list of exercises.  Look forward to your progress in a fortnight!

Jen McColley
Posted: November 27, 2012
Lightbulb!!  thanks so much for that latest video, Beth.  I am using too much finger pressure.  I sort of suspected that all along because after practicing awhile I get pretty deep grooves in my fingers.  Ugh, yet another thing to pay attention to!

I do want to start a vibrato diary, as I am still in the beginning stages of learning and I get quite frustrated.  It just looks so deceivingly simple.  rock your hand back and forth, who cant do that?!  Hah.


Posted: November 27, 2012
You guys -- this is great.

I started practicing last week and kept a log entry of what I did (current struggles/improvements/what to do next time).  I feel I'm going to start posting week by week progress to see how that helps not only me, but the community.  I will definitely try to get a close-up (oh, phone cameras and their complications, lol).  Video should be up soon!

Lily Mo
Posted: November 27, 2012
This discussion includes members-only video content

Ok so I was overly rambling and as unfocused as my vibrato.  My question was, do I need to speed up my focused vibrato ie increase the periodicity of the forward knocks. If so, do you have any suggestions on how to speed up but stay relaxed at the same time?



Ray
Posted: November 26, 2012
Hi Beth,

What I like about your latest video on the never-ending-story about vibrato is that you have mentioned three new points which I can work on while in stage 1: using the shaker.  Paying close attention to the amount of pressure on the string and directly related to that point is to strengthen the fingers so that you (I) do not need to use too much pressure, and lastly being able to smoothly play more than one note per bow stroke.  Besides being related to learning a vibrato these techniques will of direct use in other areas of playing the violin.  Thank you.

Best,

Ray

Eileen
Posted: November 26, 2012
Andrew....I have to say.....I "LOVE" your new pic !  x-)


And Beth, I have been working on the 5/10 minutes a day of consistant vibrato "with" mentronome !    It's really closer to 5 minutes than 10.....but I find I've got to go carefully....I'm starting to notice discomfort and pain in my neck and have been fiddlin around with adjustments to my shoulder rest.....hoping the tape and rubber bands hold on...at least till after Christmas !   :-)

Stephen, Los Osos, CA
Posted: November 26, 2012
Beth,
Excellent video with very helpful tips.
I was unaware of the harmonic pressure, I think
my finger pressure is to strong. I'm also glad you
added some chronology to these practices, I think
beginners, including myself want to learn vibrato
earlier then their ready to. Looking forward to the next
video in the series!
Thank You.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 26, 2012
This discussion includes members-only video content

Hey all, here's the next installment in our ongoing discussion about vibrato. Keep questioning, I still have more to learn. Also apologies about the annoying audio. I still am working for a better solution. 

Sean
Posted: November 24, 2012

Hi Christina,

 That was by no means a nightmare to me. If you need vibrato help you have definitely come to the right place!
I am by no means an expert, but I am capable of vibrato, and so, am offering my advice to try and help. The first thing I would look at is your set up and violin hold. If you find the violin is shaking too much when you vibrate, it could be because your violin is not secure enough. It could also be that your left hand is too much in contact with the neck, causing it to stick to your hand and bring the violin for a ride. It's also very possible these two could be related.
I think a brilliant idea would be to do a close up video (similar to Beth's vibrato dos and don't video) so Beth, and us other members, can see how your vibrato is functioning.

Now I am not sure what anybody else has suggested, as I have read no other comments, so I apologize if this is information you have already heard.
But my main words of wisdom/encouragement are: congratulations, you have definitely come to the right place to develop a beautiful vibrato. Beth's videos, (all of them), are AMAZING and give so much help and information, and with patience and a good comprehension, you will be able to do vibrato. Keep on persisting, and looking for help like you already have, and things will come together! 
Spoken from living proof that these videos teach vibrato.

Sean

P.S. - It truly wasn't bad - nightmare isn't an appropriate title lol. In fact, I think by thinking of it in a negative manner like such will only discourage yourself. Be proud! You're taking a huge step in the right direction.  :)




Posted: November 23, 2012
The two finger down practice is something my daughter started doing on her own because it must somehow make the exercise easier for her. I haven't stopped her because she has been told by at least one instructor at a string camp that her vibrato is too wide at times and the second finger tends to dampen the motion somewhat. I'm sure the next step will be trying to control speed and amplitude during practice. My video shows what she does during 70% of the vibrato routine. 

What Beth is trying to tell everyone in her gentile way is that it takes some discipline to develop technique and that it can take some time before progress becomes evident. Vibrato is especially hard because initially (first week or two or three) there is absolute frustration until the correct motion is developed (that is where Christina is now). Then the wow-wow  sound is annoying. Still, one needs to persist, and a log is a good idea (I keep one for my daughter). 

KarenJ
Posted: November 23, 2012

Herbert, you're daughter uses 2 fingers for her vibrato exercises.  What is the theory behind that? did she first learn with all fingers down?  My teacher teaches that way but I have only done the violinlab way.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 23, 2012
This discussion includes members-only video content

This is part one of a video response addressing Christina's vibrato woes.  I've read the other comments and will make another repines.  Always lots to talk about with this topic!

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 23, 2012
This discussion includes members-only video content

Herbert's response video:

My daughter has arm vibrato and her teacher wants her to have the wrist vibrato in addition to the arm vibrato. To this end her vibrato routine is 12-13 minutes long. The main tools are a metronome, counter, and Intonia. She has a vibrato song that she plays at end of each session and hates to have her arm held because her default is the arm vibrato.

She watched Christina's video and applauds her efforts. 

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 23, 2012
Rowell contributes the following:

Here are some vibrato video links I've quickly compiled:
 
By Diane Allen (from the Fingerboard Geography series) part 1:http://youtu.be/hsWTgdVEVTQ
By Diane Allen (from the Fingerboard Geography series) part 2:http://youtu.be/_dWlXlG5gm4
 
 
 
 
All of Allison's Violin Studio's vibrato videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/AllysonsViolinStudio/videos?query=vibrato
 
 
Dr. Stephen Redfield's vibrato series vlab:
 
 
 
Dr. Paula Bird's vibrato series from vlab:
 
 
You know Beth's vibrato series Steps 1-12
 
Beth's Vibrato Help and Clarification: http://www.violinlab.com/videoLibrary/lesson.php?id=413
Beth's Trouble Shooting Shaky Violin and Climbing Left Hand: http://www.violinlab.com/videoLibrary/lesson.php?id=431
 
 
 
I started trying out wrist vibrato when I was learning but I wasn't very successful in executing it. When I discovered arm vibrato, it was much easier to do and audibly pronounced. I didn't learn vibrato in a systematic way, I kind of had to discover and figure it out on my own. But there are systematic ways to learn it. I do agree that wrist vibrato is harder to learn because it requires more flexibility and control from the wrist and up. So you kind of have to finite those little muscles in the hand. Whereas arm vibrato you have bigger muscles of the arm/forearm/shoulder contributing so it's easier to execute. I also agree just watching/studying others do vibrato, just getting your finger/hand wiggling is a good start because you'll be exercising/using those muscles required for vibrato that you haven't had to really use (if not much) at all thus far. Now I can do the wrist/hand and arm vibrato seperately or in combination, there is also a type of vibrato that you'll see floating around in videos which they call "finger" vibrato. Where the finger joints are the only ones that primarily move. I think one of Dr. Stephen Redfield's videos show's an example of this. Usually it's used in the higher positions.
 
Practicing in front of a mirror to see what you're doing, or not, is a great tool and should help a lot.