The Violin Channel member James Dong, from Sydney, was keen to know: ‘How can I get better amplitude on my 4th finger vibrato?’
VC threw James’ question over to American concert violinist Anne-Akiko Meyers:
4th finger vibrato is a tough one. It’s the ‘no man’s land of vibrato!’
I would first practice building up strength in the finger by practicing scales and Schradieck exercises . I love the first 2 pages of Schradieck. I used to practice this on each string and all different speeds. By the time you get to the G string, you feel like you need a Gatorade and some cheering fans to get you to the finish line! It’s a great workout for the pinky.
Please go slow though and don’t overuse it as it can easily get strained. The mechanics of the hand are such that the 4th finger is a helpful soldier but the 3rd finger is the Lieutenant Commander. Be nice to it but know there are other fingers that can take over if need be.
After thorough muscle building of this more delicate finger, practice vibrating with the other fingers before working with the 4th. Vibrate in 8th’s, triplets, and 16th’s-slowly and gaining speed. This way, you will feel all the variances and build up the strength needed to have confidence to throw your weight into your pinky and ‘voila’! Having a stronger finger to help with vibrato.
Good luck, James! – Anne’
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