I used to see a lot of videos about how to do the vibrato, not because I wanted to develop it by myself, I trust in my teacher and she told me that I wasn't ready. I only did it because I wanted to know more about the technique.

In one of those occasions, I found a video with only one exercise. The video said that the student must have been playing the instrument for a period of time and in a moment the student will develop the vibrato by himself. I was curious so I tried the exercise.

(It has spaces) (Taken on academic purposes from felix ps, Tutorial sobre el vibrato en el violín)

(The exercise is in the minute 5:32 and the video is in Spanish)

And I did something very similar to the vibrato.

I never practiced the vibrato before that moment, but I didn't feel ...bad. How the position was new for me I couldn't last for a long time.

I did the same exercise again the next day, and the result was the same.

I'm still doing those exercises because they are...funny. I really like to do it and it's my favorite part of my daily practice (but just a couple of minutes).

I haven't said anything about this to my teacher because I'm very shy and when I want to, I almost have a panic attack. She said that I struggle with the affination and tempo, but I feel that when I practice in front of a person...I'm very nervous, even among close people.

And I read that practicing the vibrato (I don't know if what I did was a vibrato) without affination is a horrible mistake.

But I didn't want to!!! I was just playing and I really like to do it.

Maybe I'm overreacting, but I don't know what to do. Should I still practice it? Or should I stop? Should I tell to my teacher? Or not?

I'm very confused and a bit scared.

  • I'm curious. what is affination? Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 20:37
  • I wanted to say "intonation",
    – Keiko
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 0:56

2 Answers 2


It is only natural for a violin teacher to concentrate on your fingering, intonation and bowing when you are starting out. After all, what's the use of playing with the most marvellous vibrato if you can't play in tune? Having said that, it won't do you any harm to practise vibrato now, as long as you keep up with the other stuff. You're enjoying it, so don't stop.


Vibrato muddies the intonation. Proper intonation is hard on the violin and relies particularly at first at developing good hearing for intervals. Vibrato very much masks the intonation, so developing habitual vibrato before developing interval hearing and corrective reflexes will make it harder to center the intonation of a vibrato note properly.

That's the main rationale for postponing vibrato for a later time. If you choose to do things different from what your teacher suggests, the teacher will have it more difficult to keep tabs on your progress. It may make sense telling the teacher what you are doing instead or in addition to what he tells you to be working on to make this easier and more predictable to him.

How the teacher reacts to that is of course individual. Some are more, some less supportive and/or appreciative of divergence from the curriculum. But in the end, it is you who wants to enjoy playing.

  • Yes. On one hand: vibrato can be a pest when used, deliberately or not, to “smoothen out” notes with bad intonation. Players who do this just end up sounding less obviously bad, but also forego any chance to sound genuinely good. (I think however the problem is not that common among string players, it's mostly classical singers who do inappropriate and too-strong vibrato.) On the other hand, it sounds like the OP was 1. really enthusiastic about vibrato, and IMO that can only be a good thing. 2. actually scared that she might do something wrong, and fear is harmful. Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 23:41

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