I’ve been busy. Very busy. But though I’ve been away from the blog for almost ten days (perhaps a sad record), I’ve definitely been playing my new Gavotte and trying to work up vibrato. The Becker Gavotte is coming along much better than the vibrato – I’m not making very rapid progress at all there. I expected vibrato would not come naturally, but it’s becoming one of those things I have to force myself to practice. I’m still holding out hope that there might be a click moment, when the technique just falls into place like I’ve been doing it forever.
I had one of those click moments in my past in a formal learning pursuit. When I was a child, I studied Spanish from the third grade all the way into college. During those first few years I could never roll/trill/flap my Rs. Of course in Spanish, the trill is quite important. Very little marks a poor – or at least non-native – speaker of Spanish like being unable to do it. I was self-conscious about my inability, and try as I might my tongue would just not flap like that.
I can no longer remember precisely when, but I think it might have been in the seventh grade, after I transitioned to junior high school. One day I literally woke up with the ability to produce the sounds, having never been able before. The rolling Rs may have come to me in a dream, but I do not remember the dream. I know it’s possible because this dream-learning did happen for me with another life skill much later – in my early 30s -letting go of the handlebars on a bike! Whether it was a dream-seminar I promptly forgot upon waking or just a brain that finally processed something, I woke up that day and started rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-ing like a champ as I rolled out of bed.
There is a strong connection between the body’s production of vibrato and trilling Rs – both are rapidly alternating movement. If I can trill with the tongue, I think I can get vibrato with the fingers. It will just take time. And perhaps a dream.
Thanks for reading.