Pathways in Teaching Series

Ted Wilson presents a session on vibrato

An insight into approaches to teaching vibrato.


A number of ESTA members have expressed concern about teaching vibrato and the “no touching” policy of many local authorities. Also, a number of cello teachers, employed by music hubs, now have to teach violin, as well as cello, and find violin vibrato challenging. In response to this expressed need  Ted led a very successful ESTA event in Cardiff University, which demonstrated how he teaches vibrato.


Ted claims that he does not teach vibrato, merely how to avoid technique, which prevents vibrato happening. He teaches technical tricks, which assist vibrato. These are taught to pupils from the very first lesson and are gradually refined until vibrato just appears. These aspects of technique will be demonstrated, tried and discussed


When vibrato appears depends on the pupil and in Ted’s teaching practice an occasional pupil produces “a kind of” vibrato for grade 2 and the odd one is still very tense at grade 8. However, the average pupil starts to “vibrate” at Grade 3 level and will become proficient between Grade 5 and Grade6


Ted will be assisted by two of his former pupils; Elin Parry who has just finished post Grad. At Trinity-Laban and Charles Whittaker who in his second year at the Royal College of Music.


The afternoon will include:

  1. Recital by Elin
  2. General Posture for vibrato
  3. Explanation of harmonics
  4. Harmonics for arm vibrato
  5. Note finding and the thumb
  6. Harmonics for hand vibrato
  7. Harmonics for finger vibrato
  8. Taking the bones out of your fingers
  9. The bowing arm as a 4, 5 & 6 bar linkage
  10. Correct violin size and bow length to assist vibrato
  11. Use of talcum powder
  12. Warm-up technique using vibrato
  13. Older pupils
  14. General discussion
  15. Closing recital by Charles


Please bring your instrument - violin, viola , cello or bass





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  • Faculty

    Ted Wilson


    Ted came to Cardiff in 1976 and was a member of the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera for 18 years. He now works as a violin and viola teacher in Cardiff specializing in teaching beginners of all ages to beyond grade 8. Former pupils include, his daughter Nicole Wilson, Daniel Palmizio, Rhys Watkins now a 1st violin in the LSO plus lots of others who now work in the profession. Younger ex pupils include Menglin Li, leader of the under 13 National Children’s Orchestra, now taught be Professor Robin Stowell and 16 year old Charlie Lovell-Jones who is to play the Waxman Carmen fantasy with the John Wilson Orchestra and has a number of bookings with the English Chamber Orchestra. Charlie is now a pupil of Rodney Friend.


    Now aged 73, Ted willing admits that all his grade 8 pupils have better vibrato than he has, but he did teach them how to do it!


    Ted has been a member of the ESTA Council and was a director of ESTA 2013, the company that presented the highly successful international ESTA conference in Oxford. In May 2015 he was given an ESTA award for “Exceptional services to ESTA (UK).

  • Details and Costs


    ESTA member £25

    ESTA non member £35

    ESTA student £15

    ESTA student non member £25

    Please bring your instrument - violin, viola , cello or bass


    All sessions are 2.30-5.30 at the Primrose Hill Community Centre, 29 Hopkinsons Place, Fitzroy Road, London NW1 8TN Telephone: (020) 7586 8327.

    The entrance is down a little passage with a metal barrier in front of it, slightly tricky to spot. Go through the alley and you’ll see the building. There is free on street parking for those driving. 

    Tube: The nearest tube is Chalk Farm on the Northern line and is about a 10 minute walk.



  • Terms and Conditions

    Conditions of Booking.

    Booking is open to members and non-members of the European String Teachers' Association. For details of membership of ESTA(UK) please contact the membership secretary or visit our ESTA Benefits page.

    In case of illness or other circumstances beyond our control we reserve the right to alter advertised presenters but will inform you if this proves necessary.

    The European String Teachers' Association accepts no responsibility for loss or damage to instruments or personal belongings. You are strongly advised to provide your own insurance for instruments and other possessions.

    ESTA reserves the right to take photographs and video content. If you have any objections please email

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