I was just thinking that a serious student is always looking to get better. Improvement is quite an amazing thing to be a part of and when one starts getting into it for real, they start to see and appreciate their improvement which acts as its own encouragement.
Easy to see improvements for a student is when our range gets bigger, our tonguing gets faster or our endurance lasts longer. There are so many areas to gauge improvement aren't there? The physical is easier to see and work for in certain ways. But what about the music making? How our we assessing that progress?
I talk a lot about vibrato in this video 5 and my journey with it. is vibrato needed to make music? Well, I guess it depends what style we are talking about. As it says in the video, I use about 5 different kinds on a regular basis. The "u"vibrato is created by the tongue and sounds almost like the early electronic stringed instrument called the theremin. You can hear it in the old science fiction movies, high pitched with a lot of fast vibrato. However if you go on YouTube, you will be amazed at how beautiful it can sound playing some of the great classics. For me, the theremin, perhaps because of my association with the old movies, has a very eerie and unearthly sound. So for me, vibrato would express some character of the essence of the music.
This a big subject because many musicians have strong views about vibrato in terms of what too much is and how wide or narrow it is. The same is true for legato. There are many opinions on what is good legato but in general it seems people like smooth fast slide action between notes without any gliss. To me, this kind of legato sounds like an incredibly smooth tenuto articulation. So we then could say that lyrical does not mean a certain kind of legato or vibrato. Music is beyond those 'techniques.' They are expressive nuances that emote from that which is being expressed.
Th personal journey is vital. The student, at any point in their development, can start to feel their own lives making their way through the music that comes out of their instrument.
Video 5 link: https://youtu.be/rL7MX3UBl1M