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Yes, well. I am posting a small snippet. I practice vibrato for about ten minutes a day (sometimes longer) and I didn't want to offend your ears for too terribly long. So here is a 4 finger progression on the G string.

Here's the routine: I start really slowly, trying to make the vibrato really relaxed. Then, I do the exercises my teacher has given me. I'm supposed to practice each finger on every string slowly, trying to make sure the oscillations are even. If I notice things getting uneven, or speeding up, I'm supposed to stop and shake everything out, and then start over.

I've found that the A string is the hardest to handle, and the exercises get easier on the lower strings. 

Because my hands are narrow, my teacher has told me to shift up a little to vibrate on the 4th finger. He has also told me that the 4th finger sometimes sounds really good -- but NOT in this video (imo). 

If you're wondering why all my other fingers are sticking up in the air when I'm playing on the 4th finger, it's because I thought it might be easier to see what that finger is doing if I did that.  (It isn't. Sorry!) Usually, I keep them curved over more, to give the 4th finger more support.

I'm still trying to figure out how to film myself. I really admire the nice, clear videos all the other students here post. Beth, I tried moving lights as you suggested before, but I don't think it has helped much.

In any case, here it is. 

(PS Would love to talk about the problem of the Bflat major scale I posted before -- the question is. How in the world do I get any vibrato into anything if I'm not trying to do it? If I just let it happen, will it really happen?)

6 Responses
Posted: November 28, 2012
Last Comment: November 29, 2012

Posted: November 29, 2012
Hi Deidre,

Hoping that you don't temporarily take a break.  Beth was saying in one of latest video where she asks for volunteers to learn vibrato that consistency in putting in the time will pay off.  I know you will have a break through soon.  And when you really look at that little boy learning vibrato you can tell that this scene has been rehearsed.   As Beth mentioned his students are well accomplished at the violin and what they are showing is what to aim for.
Regarding the quality of my videos  it is just a run of the mill video camera.   Apparently, it takes good pictures (notice I say IT takes good pictures) with or on something called HD.  It's the HD part that is responsible for the quality.  It takes a very long time to upload unto Youtube.  So it is not me but the camera.



Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 29, 2012
This discussion includes members-only video content

Deidre, the students in the Sussmanhaus videos have already mastered the skills he "teaches" them They aren't really learning, they are just models. So don't be discouraged. I'm glad you posted.  This is how we will all learn as a group. Power in numbers! Here's what I'm seeing in your vibrato:  You are doing sort of an arm vibrato, but the wrist joint is moving as well. This isn't really a hybrid either. If you are learning an arm vibrato, then the wrist should stay straight while the arm moves from the shoulder. The flexibility of the knuckle, rounding the finger up and flattening it backward is what makes the arm vibrato.  For the wrist, the hand should wave back and forth on top of a relatively still forearm and upper arm. A hybrid generates in part at the shoulder which then helps the hand wave back and forth. 

So I'm not seeing the "waving" of the hand. It looks as though you are trying to make it all happen in the arm and wrist. 

I know this is terribly confusing and frustrating, but you hard work won't be for nought. Once you've worked out the correct motion, the speed and regularity that you've established will still be there. 

I am embedding the slow motion vibrato video for quick reference. Take a look at the 3:30 mark. Although you are not squeezing the neck as much as I am showing, and your wrist isn't doing quite the exaggerated motion I'm demonstrating, there is still a little of that going on.

If your teacher wants you to stay in 1st position, then see if you can isolate either the hand (move only it) or the wrist (keep it straight and just move the arm).

Hoping for you lightbulb moment..

Lily Mo
Posted: November 29, 2012
Deidre, Dante forget to mention the extra circle in hell, where adults try to learn vibrato.  I really didn't make a breakthrough for SIX months.  I had my eureka moment on Monday. Even then I couldn't hear it.  I was so use to my focused vibrato slowing down when my bow arm reaches the frog, all I was hearing was the bad version in my head.

Now I am finding my teacher's confidence in me a little overwhelming.  Play sixteen bars with continuous vibrato. Lady, are you kidding me?  I can't string together a semi breve and two minims with vibrato. Rant over- off to bash my head against the vibrato wall again.  At least as adults we are persistent.  

As Joe says, two steps forward, glacial wait, one step back, angry petulant foot stamping crap vibrato rage, then tiny shuffle forward. Focus on the shuffles.  

Joe P
Posted: November 29, 2012
Don't give up!  You know how it works...  Just when we think that some aspect of our playing will never improve, despite weeks or months of work, suddenly one day, it all starts to seem to begin to come together and work.
Of course, as soon as that happens, we forget the victory and go on to the next problem... lest we take a break from frustration for too long ;-)

Posted: November 29, 2012

I think I should just give up now!

Here I've been working at this for months, and a little kid sounds better than me after -- what? -- a minute or two?

But to answer your question, Rowell, I have done an exercise like this before. My teacher and I talked about it, and he wants me to work in 1st position.

I'd be happy to talk more, but I've got to run now

I feel quite discouraged, but somehow I don't feel like giving up just yet. I don't know why.

Anyway, thanks, and have a good day!


Posted: November 29, 2012
This discussion includes members-only video content

Have you tried this?