How to do Vibrato on the Violin | Violin Lounge TV #302

by | Apr 3, 2019 | Learn Vibrato | 7 comments

This short video is filled with exercises to learn a beautiful vibrato on the violin. Enjoy!

Vibrato is one of the most important tools of expression on the violin

It’s so interesting to play with vibrato and discover different sound colors. You can adjust your vibrato to the music you make, the story you want to tell and the emotions you want to express.

What is vibrato and what is it NOT?

You don’t want to slide, pinch or shake. Vibrato is rolling over your finger tip, so you change the pitch up and down by lengthening and shortening the vibrating string. Sounds and looks easy, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately it takes quite some effort to develop a good vibrato. The good news is that with the right exercises you can learn it too!

How long does it take to learn vibrato on the violin?

It takes certainly 10 weeks of daily practice to develop a basic vibrato. The consistency of your practice is key, even if it’s just a couple of minutes a day. It takes one to two years to perfect your vibrato and be able to adjust it to the music you make.

Hi! I'm Zlata

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

Exercises to learn vibrato on the violin

1) Big Siren

Start doing this exercise without the bow and add bowing later. When you do, try to maintain the bow flow while doing this exercise. Your left and right hand should be able to move independently.

In the big siren you slide your finger over de whole string, like I demonstrate in the video above. Fluent round movements with relaxed arm, wrist and fingers are key here. Do this with every combination of string and finger.

2) Small Siren

Make the big siren movement smaller and smaller until you can keep your thumb in the same place. This is the small siren. Only proceed to this exercise when the movement is really fluent and regular. When you perform the small siren in the fourth or fifth position, it can be a bit easier as you have support from the violin.

If you notice tension, go back to the big siren. Don’t rush it. Go back and forth until you really get it right.

3) Work towards a real vibrato

Make the small siren movement smaller and smaller until you can leave your finger tip in the same spot and roll over your finger tip. Now you can have a vibrato sound. Maybe the tempo is still to low or it’s not regular, but you can work on that later.

You can practice the vibrato movement with the violin or your lap. Also you can train your finger by placing it on the soundboard. You can also do this on the table, so you can practice vibrato anywhere you want.

4) Practice vibrato with a metronome

Start with 4 vibrato movements a beat at 60 beats per minute. Only speed it up if you have a good quality vibrato. Once you are at 100 beats per minute, you have full control over your vibrato.

I’d love to teach you more!

Click here to join my FREE mini masterclass ‘Learn a Beautiful Vibrato on the Violin’.

Share in the comments below how your vibrato is developing!


  1. Cathy James

    Thanks for this! I’m still struggling with the first and fourth fingers!

  2. Cathy James

    Any suggestions for helping with the 1st and 4th fingers? Those are still so awkward!

  3. sy

    hi, when i rolling the fingers, my thumb cant hold the violin stable, if i use my thumb hold it stable, then my fingers cant do the rolling motion… May I know how to stable the violin with the thumb?

  4. wim

    That makes it a lot clearer and easier to learn 🙂


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