The proverbial stage is now set. Vibrato can begin.
Frankly, when I teach vibrato for the first time, I give a demonstration of what vibrato sounds like in tone and then tell the student to go home and see if they can figure it out. I would say that more then 50% of the time those students will come back the next week able to produce vibrato with no help from me at all. Thus, sometimes less is truly more.
With the other percent that couldn’t figure it out on their own, I open my bag of tricks.
I like to begin vibrato with the voice, more specifically voice wobbling. Just take one note in the comfortable part of your voice and bend it up and down. I like this because it teaches where the vibrato is taking place and where to feel vibrato. Feeling vibrato is for me the most important part. If you know what it feels like you will be able to reproduce that feeling. I don’t really care what the actual physical movements that are taking place. I care what it feels like. Truly if I can get a student to feel vibrato in the right place then they will get it!
So, where do you feel it? You feel it in the back of your throat.
I know that seems weird but if you bend a note in your voice up and down, where you feel that move is where you feel vibrato.
Once a student has done this and can identify where to feel it, then they can take their flute and play a B either low or high and pulse it. I have them pulse with the same place as when they sang. It can take a bit to really feel it. So, I would send them home to work on just that by itself. Try it yourself so you know what I mean.
It will absolutely not work very well if you don’t have support along with your pulsing.
Let me tell you that this method has always worked for my students. Some have gotten it faster than others. But they all get it in the end.
We flute players need vibrato! And if you learned how to do it another way, hey fantastic.
Vibrato adds a beautiful color to our tone and the music we perform. So keep working at it until you have accomplished this feat. You’ll be glad you did.