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Hello all,

If this has been covered in a video please excuse the post.  I am currently working on the 2nd Minuet of Bach's from the 1st Suzuki book.  My question is this:  should I be practicing vibrato at this point or is it introduced in book 2?

Also, I have an issue where I get an terrible "whistling" type sound out of my D string.  Any throughts.



3 Responses
Posted: August 10, 2011
Last Comment: August 11, 2011

Posted: August 11, 2011

Thank you ladies for you repsonses.  Beth, I have begun with the very simple vibrato beginning exercises and I will continue with them.  I have not attempted to incorporate any vibrato with my "playing" yet.  I will continue to focus on intonation.  As far as the D string goes, it is fairly new.  It just seems that I need to apply more pressure and a faster bow on it or it sounds like a horn. 

Thanks again for the timely response.


Posted: August 10, 2011

Hi Bruce:

In Suzuki’s “Instructions for the Study of Vol. 4 Item #2, reads:

Begin to teach vibrato when the student begins to study the Vivaldi A minor Concerto.

Bruce, perhaps it is a good idea to start practicing early than that as Beth mentioned. You see, if you are one of the lucky people that vibrato comes natural, congratulations; otherwise, if you are a person like me, vibrato can be very difficult. Many things change, like the 3 points of contact of the left hand holding the violin (thumb, lower index and finger points) and keeping the others finger down when using fingers 3 or 4. Sometimes I go to bed with almost tears in my eyes and telling myself ……if others can I can do it, there is no reason(s) why I can’t, maybe tomorrow I will defeat it… Just trying to keep me in the game of playing our beautiful angels’ instrument (sometimes rebel, moody, refusing to obey any law, bohemian instrument).

After months of practicing, I’m beginning to have with finger 3 and in 3rd position only, something almost like a vibrato. I don’t call it vibrato yet, but when I look at the mirror, my left hand looks like I’m doing the vibrato as opposed to months ago when the fingers’ knuckles were moving but not my hand towards the pegs.

I’m almost at the end of Vol. 3 #7 Bourree by J.S. Bach, looking forward for Beth’s instructional videos in reference to the chords of 3-strings sounding at the same time (aka “Triple stop” or aka “Unbroken Chords”) and together with my beloved vibrato, I can’t wait to start Suzuki Vol. 4 which has several beautiful pieces of music.

By the way, I have a “whistling” sound when I use one of my bows and stop when I use another one. But if it is only the D-string, as Beth said, probably is the string.

My best!


Beth Blackerby
Posted: August 10, 2011
Hi Bruce, I don't believe it can ever hurt to do vibrato exercises, but I don't usually start students on the path to vibrato until I see that their intonation is getting a regular foothold, and that there is enough strength and relaxation in the left hand. It certainly depends on the student, but is generally midway to the end of book 2.

As for the whistling, is this something that just started? How old is the string?