How to practice violin vibrato with a metronome | Violin Lounge TV #513
Learn vibrato on the violin and get the beautiful sound you desire by practicing your vibrato with a metronome:
Are you unhappy with your vibrato technique? Is it inconsistent, too fast, or too slow? Did you learn vibrato with a lot of tension and now you can’t get rid of it?
This can be so frustrating, and many violinists have had to completely relearn their vibrato several years into their training. Often this is because they did not take the time and care to do all the steps a smooth, beautiful vibrato requires. So if you are now starting vibrato for the first time, thank goodness you found this video and article! If you are currently re-hashing an old unsatisfactory vibrato, the tips given here will help just as much.
If your violin vibrato doesn’t sound like you want, the reason is often that your vibrato doesn’t have the right speed or that it’s not regular.
To solve that problem and get the beautiful lush vibrato you desire, is to practice vibrato with the metronome.
Practicing Vibrato with a Metronome and Impulses
Metronomes have many uses, but they are particularly helpful for developing vibrato. If you are looking for a free, reliable, easy-to-use metronome, check out the free online metronome I developed. It can be used on your laptop, tablet or smartphone, and works perfectly for practicing vibrato.
Developing vibrato using a metronome will take several weeks, with time each day devoted to every finger. Rushing through the exercises encourages tension and irregularity.
Think of vibrato as ‘up’ movements with an energetic burst and then your finger relaxes back. Watch the video above to see a demonstration.
To get a good vibrato sound on the violin it’s important that you roll over your finger tip in the direction of the string length.
Vibrato exercises with the metronome
Start by setting the metronome to 60 bpm. If you can, it is best to learn vibrato in third position first because the hand can move a little more freely. If you only know first position that is fine, but start practicing with second or third finger instead of first or fourth. Also watch out for the “pancake hand”—be sure your wrist is not crooked and your arm, wrist, palm, and fingers can move freely while working together.
With the metronome ticking and one finger down, start with one vibrato impulse per beat. In slow motion it will sound like two different pitches, but you should not be lifting or sliding the tip of your finger at all, just rolling slightly while raising and lowering the first knuckle joint. It is actually the looseness of that knuckle joint that fosters good vibrato. Playing impulses means you swing up to the “higher pitch” only very briefly before releasing the knuckle again. This fast movement is more helpful and efficient then just rolling back and forth at a steady pace.
With my online metronome, you can also set it to eighth notes, sixteenths, or triplets. Triplets are particularly helpful for practicing vibrato.
Take some time to do 60 bpm with quarters, eighths, sixteenths, and triplets on every finger and every string. After about a week of learning the motion start increasing the tempo gradually. Over several weeks this exercise will help you develop a beautiful, reliable vibrato on every finger.