How to Do Vibrato on the Violin

Learn how to do vibrato on the violin from musician Julie Artzt Becker in this Howcast video.


So now I'm going to talk about vibrato. First you need to set up your left hand position the right way. Now we spoke about how to set up your left hand in the first position but now we need to talk about the left hand positioning in the third position because that's where I like to start learning vibrato. Your hand in third position is rested at the shoulder of the instrument. I like also doing the second finger on the A string to start because it's the most centered finger, the strongest finger. My finger is on the tip of the fat of the finger, there's a nice platform here and that's how you start.

Then to vibrate what I usually do is, I put a little arrow on the finger going this way; that's the direction the finger has to go in. Back and up. So back and forth, back and forth. And as you can see the knuckle is going down and then it's going up. Going down and going up. So an exercise you can do is, that's an E on the A string, third position and then collapse it, back, back. Then you can do a slur. That's a two note slur. We can do four notes. Or you can do six. Then eight. And until you reach normal vibrato speed. You need to do that kind of vibrato for each one of your fingers.

When you vibrate also another issue that you have to think about is your arm position. Now we spoke about correct arm position is you're flat as a pancake here, everything is straight, nothing's sticking out. When you vibrate you do need your wrist; the most popular vibrato is wrist vibrato. So then you would do, this does come out when you flatten the finger a little bit. So the wrist is moving back and forth when you're doing that finger-wrist vibrato. You need to do that with all of the fingers.

The only exception is the pinky. The pinky fourth finger does not use as much wrist just because of the physicalness of the actual finger. You're still doing the same motion but it's just a little bit smaller. It's mainly the finger vibrato with just a little bit of wrist. That's how you would start to learn vibrato. Start slow. That's the vibrato.

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