5 Common Mistakes in Violin Vibrato + SLOW MOTION | Violin Lounge TV #306

by | May 1, 2019 | Learn Vibrato | 5 comments

Are these mistakes holding YOU back from a beautiful vibrato?

Learn vibrato the right way and express yourself in beautiful music on the violin:

Lots of violin players know a bit how to do vibrato, but don’t REALLY get the sound they want

In most cases they’re making one of these five mistakes.

Vibrato mistake nr 1: Irregular vibrato or vibrato in the wrong tempo

Violin players seek to change the vibrato movement they make, while this is not always the problem. In the video above I demonstrate how the wrong tempo can make the right movement sound like a drunk donkey.

Make sure that your vibrato movements are regular and that you control the tempo. You can practice this with a metronome. Start with four vibrato motions a beat at sixty or eighty beats per minute. Speed it up slowly to hundred beats per minute.

Vibrato mistake nr 2: Movements in the wrong direction

You get the vibrato sound by shorting and lengthening the vibrating string

As you roll over your fingertip in the direction of the string length, you change the pitch a bit. This is vibrato.

Some people do the right movement, but not in the right direction. If you move sideways, it looks like vibrato, but you won’t get the sound.

Is this your problem? Analyze your movement while you’re doing a slow motion vibrato and correct your vibrato. To make it easier, you can let the violin rest on your lap and do the movements with a straight wrist.

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

Vibrato mistake nr 3: Using ONLY arm, wrist or finger vibrato

In the books we learn that arm, wrist and finger vibrato are separate things and that we have to pick one. In reality violinists always use a combination of the three. Of course the proportions differ: in higher positions you might use more arm vibrato and in lower positions more wrist vibrato.

Look at various soloists and you’ll discover that their vibrato is very personal and different from each other, but they’ll always use a combination of the three.

Your finger always moves along and must be flexible. You can do all the right movements with your arm and wrist, but if your finger is stiff you don’t get a good vibrato. I demonstrate all of this close up and slow motion in the video above.

Vibrato mistake nr 4: Slide over the string

In vibrato your finger stays in the same place, on the same pitch. You achieve vibrato by rolling over your finger tip. Sliding over the string is bad for your intonation and won’t get you the vibrato sound you’re looking for. Sliding is most of the times a sign that your finger is not flexible and that you’re just using your arm and/or wrist.

Vibrato mistake nr 5: Only vertical motions

By making a vertical motion with your finger up and down on the string, you change the string tension a bit and you get sort of vibrato. However, you’ll never get the lush fluent vibrato you’re looking for. It means that you might be using just your finger and you need to loosen up your wrist a bit. This video might be very helpful to you if you make this mistake.

This vertical motion is a good exercise to learn vibrato, but it’s just ONE of the movements you need and not all of them.

Join my FREE mini masterclass ‘Learn a Beautiful Vibrato on the Violin’

I’d love to teach you more about vibrato. Click here to watch my more extensive vibrato masterclass and download the guiding e-book.

Do you recognize one or more of these mistakes in your own vibrato?

Please don’t worry. It’s part of the learning process and most of the times they’re easily to correct as long as you do at least five minutes of vibrato practice a day. Let me know in the comments what mistake(s) you were making and how this video helped you improve your vibrato:


  1. Lisa Beck

    Great video – thanks Zlata. My teacher has not yet started vibrato with me yet, but I thought “there’s no harm in watching your video”. I do find some notes in the tunes I play are like “crying out for something more”, especially the long slow repetitive ones. Your video’s are always friendly and fun – Thumbs up for you!

  2. Denise Mc

    Yes, another wonderful instructive video! Like Lisa. B., I’ve not begun learning vibrato but having the information you’ve shared here in mind when I start, I know I’ll be a step ahead in learning vibrato properly.

  3. Dan beaver

    Very concise and clear with definite suggestions re developmental progression on journey to vibrato. Many thanks


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *