How To Learn Vibrato | Herriman Violin Lessons

How To Learn Vibrato | Herriman Violin Lessons



One of the first questions I get asked from a new student is often, “When can I learn that wiggly-finger thing?”. Adding vibrato to your playing enhances musicality and can make your playing more exciting and interesting. It takes a lot of practice to develop beautiful vibrato, but here are some tips to help you get started.


Start With Arm Vibrato

There are three types of violin vibrato: arm vibrato, wrist vibrato, and finger vibrato. While all of these have their place in violin playing, I suggest starting out with arm vibrato. It is typically easier to master than the other two types (it should be noted that finger vibrato is used rarely, and for specific stylistic liberties).


Large Motor to Gross Motor

It’s naturally easier to learn gross motor skills before working on fine motor skills. Think about how a child learns to write; they start with a fist grip and then gradually learn the proper writing grip. This idea applies to learning vibrato as well.

Start by slowly moving the hand up and down the neck, keeping the wrist straight.

Next, lightly touch the string with 1st finger as you slide up and down the string. Repeat with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers.

Then, anchor the thumb in first position as you continue sliding up and down the strings with each finger.

Finally, anchor the thumb and playing finger as you roll the fingertip back and forth in vibrato motion.

As you get more comfortable with the motion, you can gradually speed up the motion to get a narrower oscillation of sound.


Practice Frequently

The best way to master vibrato is to incorporate it into your playing as much as possible. As you practice the vibrato motion, you will develop muscle memory and continue to get better and better. Try using vibrato on all notes that are quarter notes or longer in any piece you play.


Looking for more practice tips? Read about developing a beautiful tone here!




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