Teaching Vibrato The Physics Way

Go back to About Me and My Violin Journey

Students Have Endless Vibrato Problems

Students have endless problems when they're learning vibrato. Many people think they have problems because vibrato is a really complex motion of the arm, hand, and fingers. And that part is mostly true -- vibrato is a complex motion. But vibrato is not that difficult if you know exactly what to do, and how to do it.

Sometimes people get so frustrated with vibrato that they blame themselves for failure. The violin pulls away from their neck. Their hand climbs up the fingerboard. Their vibrato is too narrow, or too fast, or too slow, or too uneven. Their muscles get tired and sore. Tension is everywhere. Their fingers stiffen up, and their coordination goes away.

The list of violin vibrato problems goes on and on.

I Struggled Too, Until I Solved The Problems

I know all about those problems, because I've been there. I struggled through them all. But it doesn't have to be that way for you.

Because I've studied the problems in a deep way, and have a solution for you. 

But this solution is not a traditional solution. You can find those kinds of solutions on YouTube, or on the net somewhere. Typically someone wiggles their first finger on the E string to demonstrate a change in pitch. They show how the tip knuckle bends and straightens to make a vibrato sound. 

And you can already do that motion easily, right?

But those YouTube "solutions" don't work in actual playing, do they? Did they solve your frustrating vibrato problems? Shaky violin? Nope. Hand climbing up the neck? Nope. Vibrato too narrow, or too slow, or too fast, or too uneven? No, no, no, and no. They did not, and could not. And you don't even think about those YouTube videos showing you how to do a nice pinky vibrato on the G string. Abandon all hope for that!

Teaching Vibrato The Physics Way

In contrast, teaching vibrato the physics way can help to solve all of those problems. This solution is fresh and different because I used my knowledge of physics principles to understand WHY my motions were wrong, and how to fix them.

Once I truly understood what was going on, I solved my problems easily. All I had to do was practice the right exercises in the right way. And now I can show you how to solve your problems too.

Don't get worried when I say "physics" -- you don't have to do any math calculations in my teaching method. I just use it to mean how your arm, hand, and fingers move to make a beautiful vibrato sound. And I use it to mean what finger angles you should use to get a wide vibrato.

Another reason not to worry is because you've been "doing" physics your whole life already. You do physics every time you move your hands and fingers around. You've been following the laws of motion in the universe (physics) for your whole life. Even when you're pulling the bow and playing your violin, you're following physics and the laws of the universe.

So don't be worried. My solution can teach you exactly what to do for a beautiful vibrato, step by step, with unsurpassed clarity. You will stop fighting physics with the wrong vibrato motions. And when you do that, all your vibrato problems will melt away.

You'll need to practice the right way, probably for a few months at least. But if you're willing to do that, you can have a beautiful vibrato too. I did it, and I'm just a normal guy. I have 1 thumb and 4 fingers on my left hand, and normal joint flexibility. So why not you too?

Why This Solution is New and Different

Teaching vibrato the physics way is different from traditional teaching methods. It uses a physics point of view, and not a traditional, professional violinist teaching point of view.

All teachers and methods seek the same goal -- to teach a nice vibrato. But the solution words that students will hear from a physics view will sound very different from the words of a career violinist. And that can make all the difference between frustration and success.

Many excellent violin teachers have been playing violin their whole lives, maybe from the age of 10 years old, or even younger. Many of them can do vibrato better than me too. But that's not surprising, is it? They've been doing vibrato their whole lives.

In contrast, at the time I'm writing this, I've been doing vibrato for about 1 year at the most, given the gaps in my practice schedule. (Not much violin practice for me in 2016 either (sigh). I'm sure you know, life gets in the way of violin practice sometimes...)

I'm not a career violinist. I'm just a regular guy, with a little extra physics knowledge and good coordination. I focused on learning vibrato in January 2015, and three months later I had a working wrist vibrato (all 4 strings, all 4 fingers). Now it feels effortless sometimes, and is nice and wide. I can show you how to do it too.

Using physics gives you a different way of understanding vibrato than the traditional way. Physics will show you how and why the vibrato fingers must move, in a way that traditional methods do not teach. Traditional teaching methods have been passed down through hundreds of years, so those teaching methods certainly have merit. But...

Traditional Methods Don't Work for Everyone

But those traditional teaching methods don't work for everyone, do they? If they did work, people wouldn't be struggling so hard to learn vibrato (including me). And those methods don't use clear and specific words to describe vibrato motions, either. So I think traditional methods create a bit of a communication gap between teachers and students.

The traditional methods didn't work for me because no one could explain exactly what I was doing wrong, or exactly how to fix things. I would hear 4 or 5 different opinions (each with the word "tension" in them), with 4 or 5 different suggestions on things that might fix it. I felt like the opinions (although well-intended) were fuzzy and not specific, like taking shots in the dark and hoping to hit a target.

For example, consider the traditional answer to many online vibrato questions: "Oh, tension is causing the problem." But those words don't really help much, do they? What exactly would you do if someone said "Oh, it's tension..." to you? Exactly which tension? Exactly which location? Exactly what should you do, exactly how should you move, to fix the tension?

Instead, I always wanted to hear something specific like "This is exactly what is causing the problem. To fix it, move your elbow 1 inch this way, move your wrist joint up 1 inch, and then pull your finger down this way." That way, I would have something specific to follow. But traditional methods usually don't sound like that, do they?

I'll Never Be a Professional Violinist

I'll never be a professional violinist. You know that, and I know that. I'm just a regular guy, with a little extra knowledge and coordination. So what right do I have to teach vibrato?

Here is why. Because I struggled with all of the usual vibrato problems as an adult student. And then I solved them all using physics. Traditional teaching methods and words (although well intended) couldn't provide any specific answers for me.

So even though I'll never be a career violinist, I have recently been through the whole struggle, and I can see it with fresh eyes, and offer a fresh new teaching method.

But I Know How to Teach Effectively

More good news is that I've done a lot of teaching over the decades. People have been telling me my whole life that "You're an excellent teacher. You make complex things seem so simple because of the way you explain them." So I'm confident that I can teach you the principles of vibrato effectively, too.

Teaching vibrato the physics way shows you specific vibrato motions that are in tune with how your bones and joints work. It teaches you how to produce beautiful wide vibratos with a minimum amount of tension and physical effort.

You can free yourself from all those vibrato problems. Vibrato too narrow, too fast, hand climbing up the neck, and all the others.

You'll have to learn the motions that I teach, and practice the exercises that I teach, in order to succeed. But if you are willing to do that, teaching vibrato the physics way will give you a very direct, efficient path straight to beautiful vibratos. 

My Goal is to Teach You How and WHY

​I created this website to teach people what I've learned about vibrato, from a physics point of view.

Learning vibrato the physics way is straightforward because the method is so specific. It breaks down and isolates each vibrato movement so that you can easily understand and practice it.

The method tells you exactly what to do, every step of the way to a beautiful wide vibrato, with unsurpassed clarity in the concepts and words that I use.

If you're a normal person, with normal brain power, with normal joint flexibility, and are willing to practice (gee, have I said that often enough? (smiling)), you can have a beautiful vibrato too.

It's not hard to begin. Just go back to the home page and follow the steps there to get started on a new and different vibrato journey today.

Go back to About Me and My Violin Journey