I attended a trial Alexander Technique session at the IDRS conference last year (anyone go this year by the way?)
I went to one of those sessions and found it very interesting. Blowing a steady stream of air across the street to the office block opposite!!
and the bassoonist who gave me the individual session advised me to do more singing in the shower!
I think all musicians (especially wind and brass players) should do loads of singing. In the shower, in the car, in the garden, anywhere just for fun without getting too technical about it. I think it's good for the physical aspects of playing and excellent training for the musical ear and brain (which is why I'm so much in favour of the aural (oral?) elements of the ABRSM exams which have often been debated on these forums).
Summing up the wisdom of Andrew, Wai Kit Leung, music margaret and Martin Schuring as quoted by pushpull, it sounds as though the best route is to let vibrato emerge naturally when air support and tone are well developed.
Well Martin Schuring does advocate the use of preliminary exercises to get it started.
My flatmate says his vibrato just emerged without applying a specific technique. He thinks it came from trying to imitate our teacher, who has a very natural, singing vibrato.
I find that very interesting. I think a lot of what we do is picked up by attempting to emulate what we hear. Quite often discussions with teachers are not detailed technical instructions but a "try to ...." suck it and see approach. Personally I also feel that's why it's important to be with a teacher who makes the sort of sound you like to hear and would wish to make yourself.
music margaret, how is it that the diaphragm is working harder during a diminuendo? What should it be feeling like?
I should let music margaret answer that of course but for me it means being aware that you are continuing to give full support when playing dim. It's very easy to relax as you play more quietly and then the tone (and pitch) suffers. It's just like singing (again). Even when singing pp you have to maintain support.
I've wondered about the flute too.
I suspect vibrato on the flute is affected by the way you blow across the hole rather than down the instrument. I don't know how but flute vibrato does sound significantly different (to me) compared with other wind instruments.
Since I was only playing short pieces, the XL made its public début. It sounded nice and felt delicious but I had a couple of glitches because the C# and Eb keys seemed to have stiffened a bit. Has anyone else had this issue? Howarths do say that keys can stick on new oboes. S'pose I'd better write for advice...
I recall once noting that a couple of rods seemed to be coming loose on mine, so, being an engineer, I cranked them up nice and tight. Quite a lot of keys stopped working If you are talking about C# and right hand Eb, they are on the same rod so it could be this has tightened up a bit. Slacken it off a turn then tighten "enough" (i.e so the keys still move). I think it goes without saying that we ought to inspect the rods and screws in our oboes now and then just to be sure we don't end up with keywork around our feet during the cadenzas.