A New Approach to Teaching Violinists Vibrato Using "Cello" Position
If you are like me, then vibrato has not been the easiest thing to learn, teach or practice. Occasionally, I have had a student figure out the coordination and pivot points of vibrato in a matter of weeks but that is the exception and not the norm.
For most of us, the skill of vibrato seems to have a particularly long and jagged learning curve. Further impacting this is that the beginning stages of vibrato feel so awkward that it discourages students from following up their assignments during home practice delaying the development of this skill.
I don't claim to have any magic wands to substitute for daily practice, devotion and desire - these things are all part of the process and have to be intrinsically motivated.
I do however have an approach to teaching vibrato that may help unlock this skill for some of the violinists on this newsletter list. Over the years of teaching, playing and working thru overuse injuries, I often reflected on how unnatural playing the violin is - we defy gravity by holding it up and then make it asymmetrical by putting it on the side. It occurred to me that the reason vibrato is taught much sooner to cellists than violinists is that cello players do not have these 2 issues opposing ergonomic body movements. With a few adjustments, we as violinists can replicate this symmetry and work with gravity by sitting down and starting our vibrato exercises in "cello" position.
If you are struggling to master your vibrato or dissatisfied with your teaching protocol or just in love with learning, you may benefit from the approach to teaching vibrato using "cello" position demonstrated in more detail on this video. Also included in this video is a successful way to relay vibrato skills to younger students using the power of story telling so they can be independent and accurate in their home practice.
Are you seeking more support in your home practice routine or more tools in your teaching toolkit? Be sure to check out my video/blog post and free PDF download 15 Ways to Optimize Violin Practice HERE.
If you have followed this project for a while you may know that one of the most profound things I ever did in my teaching career was to spend a week watching my students practice. You can learn more about what I discovered and how it was arranged here on The Practice Experiment.
The 15 Ways to Optimize Violin Practice list and correlating video was created as a response to watching my students practice. Too often students were working hard but not progressing as far as they should because they were not practicing the right way. This list and video will help any violinist make better use of their practice time and reach their goals more efficiently.
Teachers - you can use this to better support teaching technique, as a reference to share with your students and for professional development to expand your skills.
Students - you can use this to help you practice more efficiently. Practicing smarter will help you progress faster. My passion is taking my 20+ years of teaching experience and helping you know the fastest path to success thru the trials and errors I had working with students these past 2 decades.
Parents of young musicians - I know that one of the hardest jobs for you is keeping momentum in your home practice routine. Peruse the ideas on 15 Ways to Optimize Violin Practice and use the appropriate ones for your child to help keep practice creative, fresh and engaging with some new ideas.
Print out the list below and keep in your violin folder as a reference. Please note, some things on the list may not be clear to you until they are demonstrated in the accompanying video.
Scroll down to download this PDF
I love working with strong willed children because I know that what comes out on the other end is a passionate musician and a human being with vision and resolute - all things I value. I am also human and when my sweet 5 year old student came to 10 lessons in a row this winter with only a big "NO" I began to question my teaching approach since things appeared to be stagnant and I was not confident I was actually helping her. In this 3 minute video titled: "No, No, No!!!! Tips for Working with Strong Willed Children" learn 4 things:
BTW - Immediately after making this video the mother texted me a practice video of her daughter who was in the process of doing her assignment 110x that day! Wow, that is exactly why we never quit before the child!
How do you help your child or student when they are expressing a strong "NO"?
Please share in the comments below, thanks!
Hi! It's me, Heather. I absolutely love working on the Music for Young Violinists project and all the many facets: blogging, website, music, teaching materials, freebies, videos, newsletter and giveaway contests. The best part is connecting with you so feel free to drop me a line. You can learn more about me on the "ABOUT" page. Thanks!