Anyone here have trouble developing vibrato or developing vibrato in your students?

It is one sticky wicket.

As a teacher, I can’t see into my student’s throat to actually see what’s going on. But, there’s no single exercise that creates a no-fail vibrato. All we teachers can do is use techniques that we’ve used in the past with other students and hope that it works for new students. Then when it doesn’t we try to come up with variations on a theme to help those students.

Another voice teacher told one of my students that “not all voice students have vibrato. Some just don’t have it.”

I think that is a bunch of baloney.

Every student I’ve taught has gotten vibrato. I will admit that they get it to varying degrees. Not everyone has gotten the vibrato that I desire for them. But they all achieve a workable vibrato to some extent. Definition of vibratoSo, what do I do to teach vibrato?

It’s basically is a trial-and-error method.

Now, I am not going to write here and tell you I have the “God-given method” that is no-fail. Nope. Not going to do it. Because, well I don’t have THE answer that works every time to perfection without fail.

I will, however tell you about the method that I use. It’s my own method – one that I developed. And it seems to work.  But I’ve done different variations on this for different students to find a way that works for them.

Before I work with students on vibrato, I make sure that they have a good working knowledge of breathing and support. Vibrato will never be great without those two areas working well first.

If you haven’t figured those two out yet then read my blogs and watch my FluteTips on breathing and support first. Then, come back to this blog.

The first point of agreement that we need is that vibrato needs to sound organic to the tone. That is, if tone was a hollow wave moving up and down, then vibrato would fit into it and move seamlessly with tone. I like to draw this picture for students so that they can visualize what it looks like. It is easier to do with a picture in your head.

Let me tell you it gets a bit complicated and it takes a lot of experimenting but are you ready for more?

Ah, but you have to wait until the next post!  I’ll see you then.


Dr. Flute

P.S. Thanks to for their definition of vibrato:

“vibrato”. Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 13 Sep. 2017. <>.