When shall you learn how to make a violin vibrato?
Consider the beginning of your vibrato practising should only take place after you are fairly comfortable with your finger placement and have memorized all of your notes’ position.
Understand how your wrist is supposed to move as you vibrato. Don’t hold your instrument but hold your left hand in the air as if you were ready to play the instrument.
As you hold your left hand in this fashion, imagine that someone is holding a pencil just centimeters away from the side of your hand. Try to move your wrist and your arm, so that your hand touches the imaginary pencil. Keep in mind that, while you vibrate, the only thing you should be trying to move is your wrist, back and forth, as if there were two pencils on either side and you were trying to brush them as your hand moves. This is the movement you shall use for the violin vibrato. While doing this movement, your left hand should remain extremely calm.
Succeeding violin vibrato
Try it with your instrument. First you should try the vibrato movement without actually playing, and you should attempt to do it slowly. Violin vibrato works best when only one finger is on the string. You may try the violin vibrato with any finger you would like, although it is usually easier to do on the 2nd and 3rd fingers. Do not attempt the violin vibrato on the 4th finger until you have mastered it on the rest of the fingers, however.
Le doigt effectuant le vibrato ne devra pas glisser sur la corde. Le doigt doit pivoter sur la touche, au lieu de se déplacer d’avant en arrière. Une fois de plus, pensez que votre poignet doit être en mouvement, pas votre bras. Vous ne devez pas vous efforcer pour faire pivoter votre doigt sur la corde, puisque votre poignet est en mouvement, le doigt doit pivoter tout seul.
Keep in mind that your finger should never slide on the string. It rolls against the fingerboard, rather than slipping back and forth. Again, keep in mind that your wrist should be moving, and not your arm. You should also not have to put effort into rolling your finger against the string. Because your wrist is in the vibrato motion, your finger should roll on its own.
Violin vibrato video
Here is a video showing basic exercises to start training…
Try bowing the string that your vibrating finger is on. You will hear the pitch lowering. That is because, as you vibrate, your finger should first be on the correct pitch, and then roll towards the scroll, which will lower the pitch. After that, your finger should roll back towards the previous pitch. This is what causes the shaky sound in vibrato.
Move very slowly when learning, to develop muscle memory. Your finger should roll against the string so slowly that you can hear the lowering of pitch. And then, after that, the raising of pitch.
Practice this slowly until you feel very comfortable. Learning vibrato may take a lot of time, but it is very much worth it.
Another method to achieve a violin vibrato
If making a wrist vibrato is difficult for you, you can try the forearm vibrato. This way you will probably succeed easily and get a richer sound than with a wrist vibrato.
To perform a violin vibrato with your forearm, start with the first step of learning the wrist vibrato, but instead of moving your wrist, move your forearm back and forth.
Main picture, June Stratton painting.