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Cello Lessons: Practice Tips: Non-Vibrato

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In emotional, romantic melodies,
we're gonna be vibrating a lot.
However, this can develop tension and the
tension can compromise our intonation and
our shifting, so it's really helpful
to practice a melody like The Swan
with no vibrato at all, so that you can
separate the coordination of the hands.
That being said,
we don't wanna practice it non-musically.
In fact,
this is a really great opportunity for
us to focus on all of the phrasing
we can do with just the bow.
You can think of the bow
as the breath of a singer.
Now a singer, all of their power and
sensitivity comes from how
they use their breath.
And the bow is our breath.
That's where we get our sound.
That's our power.
And that's where we get
a lot of our character.
However, a lot of people get distracted
by vibrato, in particular, and
try and do most of their expressiveness
with just the left hand.
And the left hand is sort of like
the mouth and the tongue of a singer,
which is articulating specific things and
can make detailed expression happen.
However, you need to use a lot of
voice if you wanna play strong and
you wanna use a little bit of breath,
if you want to speak sensitively.
So, we wanna focus on our breath and
phrasing with just the bow.
So, I like to practice classical
pieces with absolutely no vibrato
which helps my left hand relax.
But I'm trying to spend all of my
musical instinctive energy into the bow.
And so,
I'm gonna be very conscious of bow speed,
bow weight, and
always doing something with the bow.
You can still make
really strong shapes and
express a lot without
any involvement of
the left hand.
And once you develop an augment
the expressivity of your bow,
then, when you put the icing
of your vibrato on top of it,
everything really starts to sparkle and
come to life, and
your expression is gonna
be even more powerful.
I'm still thinking of the bow primarily.
And the vibrato is responding to the bow.
You can think of this as leading
your expression with the right hand,
rather then leading with the left hand.