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This discussion includes members-only video content

Here is a short clip on my emerging vibrato, I would greatly appreciate all comments on that and anything else. A big thank you to Rowell Jao who always provides such great help online and offline for students. So fire away, I'm an old construction guy with thick skin so don't hold back. Thanks in advance and I probably haven't played so poorly since I started, does this always happen on videos?


7 Responses
Posted: July 7, 2013
Last Comment: July 8, 2013

Posted: July 8, 2013

Hi Michael,

I recognize that piece I helped transcribe for you!

One of the big reasons your wrist is pronated is because your left thumb is straight up and not slanted/relaxed back. Also, I think if you can land your fingers down with the inside corner (thumb-side corner or left tip corner) of your finger, you would have better straight wrist. When people really focus on getting the very middle of the fingertip or even close to the outside corners, the wrist pronates. Since the arm/hand/wrist is already angled, the fingers will be angled as well.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: July 8, 2013
This discussion includes members-only video content


I hope this better explains the importance of keeping that wrist straight.

Posted: July 7, 2013
Just wanted to add -- lovely playing, and beautiful tune. Your intonation is really good! (I bet you don't need those tapes :-) )

Posted: July 7, 2013


Beth Blackerby
Posted: July 7, 2013
Michael, thanks for that video. It was extremely informative. In fact, based on your previous post, I had pictured a much different vibrato.  

First off, let me say that I think your bow hand is GORGEOUS! Your whole set up is exceptional. I see no red flags in regards to tension.

Here are my thoughts about your vibrato. You have a wrist vibrato, not an arm vibrato. You are initiating movement from the wrist. The problem I see is the angle of your wrist (like Eileen mentioned). Because it's a bit pronated, it's limiting your range of motion. Another words, you are vibrating from a vertical position of the arm to a pronated position, which means you are not getting the benefit a full rocking motion. Your knuckles are plenty flexible, but without the supination of the wrist involved in the vibrato motion, you are getting a fraction of the whole movement, and therefore a fraction of the pitch modulation.

Practice with the mirror. Start with a perfectly straight wrist and arm, then rock the hand back as far as you can and then forward to where there is a slight pronation in the wrist. That should be the range of motion for slow practice. Obviously it will be minimized when you increase tempo.

I also think you should practice vibrato exercises with a metronome if you're not doing so already. It's obvious your a quick learner, and you've already done amazing work in just six weeks. The metronome will help you build in evenness. It takes several months to a year to really get a nice functioning vibrato. You are off to a fantastic start. But the left arm/wrist angle issue will be an impediment if you don't fix it.

Thanks for the video!

Posted: July 7, 2013

You do a nice job of keeping your bow straight while you're working on the left hand. That's a challenge I have yet to conquer.  can you sustain the "wobbles" longer than what you recorded here?  That may help get the action more comfortable (i was going to say natural but i don't feel like any of this is natural at this point, at least in my mind)

I can hear a really nice vibrato in some parts of that tune.  When you develop it, its going to be really nice.  Keep us updated.

Posted: July 7, 2013
To your last question.....yes...yes it does.....at least until you get a gazillion hours behind you of playing in front of a group of folks...lol    ;-)

I would say that your wrist is pronated somewhat...instead of a nice straight line from your elbow to your knuckles....you've got this bend outward at the wrist.  I have the same tendency at times so I recognized that right off.

Here's one of Beth's videos that might help you out   http://www.violinlab.com/videoLibrary/lesson.php?id=81

I think what I would do is go back to working on slow....FAT vibrations and work with a mirror so that you can see what your wrist is doing.  Working up against the violin in 3rd/4th position might stabilize that wrist until you get the feel of it. 

Other than that it looks pretty good Michael.  You are NOT squeezing the violin which is a definite plus !  I think it's just a matter of loosening up those fingers a little to get a wider vibrato and straightening out that wrist.  Nice job !  :-)