Physical Problems in Vibrato Amongst First-year College Violinists: a Descriptive Study

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The purpose of this descriptive study was to first identify to what extent first-year college violinists physically struggle with the vibrato motion, and further, to identify physical problems within the motion that are contributing to their challenges during the learning process. The 16 participants in this study were chosen randomly from the College Music Society Directory of Music Faculties in Colleges and Universities (2013-2014 edition). Participants completed a questionnaire of 32 quantitative and qualitative questions addressing the vibrato of their 2013-2014 first-year violinists. 62% of participants’ first-year students had a physical problem with vibrato, 70% of participants’ students were working ... continued below

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Manfredi, Zo Hurd August 2015.

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  • Manfredi, Zo Hurd

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Description

The purpose of this descriptive study was to first identify to what extent first-year college violinists physically struggle with the vibrato motion, and further, to identify physical problems within the motion that are contributing to their challenges during the learning process. The 16 participants in this study were chosen randomly from the College Music Society Directory of Music Faculties in Colleges and Universities (2013-2014 edition). Participants completed a questionnaire of 32 quantitative and qualitative questions addressing the vibrato of their 2013-2014 first-year violinists. 62% of participants’ first-year students had a physical problem with vibrato, 70% of participants’ students were working on correcting physical problems in vibrato during lessons. Participants also reported that 15% of their students were not able to create a vibrato motion at all. Almost all professors (n=15) indicated that students with a problematic vibrato were too tense in parts of the arm or hand and this negatively affected the motion and thus, the sound. Specific problems also included vibrato being too narrow, but rarely too wide, vibrato being too fast or too slow caused by tension, problems with when and how vibrato was being applied, problems with maintaining intonation before or during use of vibrato, and problems with not understanding the motion needed or imagining an intended sound. Most professors used movement terminology to describe physical problems with vibrato as well as aural problems with vibrato. Only a few professors discussed aural problems in vibrato using terminology depicting the sound. Participants revealed that the most commonly used types of vibrato amongst their first-year students were arm vibrato and a combination vibrato (use of wrist, arm and finger vibratos). Most participants also listed these combined parts of finger, wrist and arm in their own definitions of a good-sounding vibrato. Results from this study can be directed to the attention of classroom teachers, studio teacher and private instructors to these specific physical and aural problems before a student begins to study vibrato early in learning. Conclusions suggest possible ways in which the college or pre-college teacher can address these issues in students that have a problematic vibrato motion.

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • August 2015

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  • March 4, 2016, 4:14 p.m.

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  • Nov. 15, 2016, 9:30 p.m.

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Manfredi, Zo Hurd. Physical Problems in Vibrato Amongst First-year College Violinists: a Descriptive Study, dissertation, August 2015; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc804848/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .