Profiting from a foot massage: this is how!

An effective way to relax while exercising is to use small textured massage rollers: while you are playing, the rollers massage the soles of your feet by moving your legs back and forth. This can be practiced sitting with one or two rollers and standing with one. Basically, it can be done "just like that", that is, regardless of specific projects: Take two rollers and move them back and forth independently of a meter. However, it is advisable to consciously incorporate this relaxation into the concentrated practice and take many advantages with you:

  • rhythm stability,
  • internalizing rhythm,
  • internalizing musically phrases,
  • coordination, 
  • concentration.
1. Each foot on its own
The acclimatisation phase, when a person learns to use the roller while playing the violin or viola, can for instance be structured as follows. First shift your chair to the desired place and slip a roller under your foot. Starting slowly, try to perform the backwards and forwards motion in time with the beat, such as in quavers or crotchets. Once your foot is accustomed to rolling, simply put the instrument to your neck and follow the beat. If the player feels fine with that, the roller should be placed under the other foot and the procedure repeated.
2. With both feet
Now both feet can be used at the same time. Initially without any instrument. As soon as you feel fine with this slowly begin playing along to the beat. Once that has been accomplished the fun of experimenting can begin: for instance, you can move your feet in opposite directions or in different rhythms. They can move in synch or out of synch with the violin, and with that the player can begin to adjust their movements to the phrasing.
Advanced players

In this short >>Video<< Wei shows, how advanced players can benefit from using textured massage rollers: phrasing is combined with rhythmic stability and the playing flow. 

Guiding the rollers

Ideally, the foot roller is guided across the entire foot, from tiptoe to heel. The feet can be moved in parallel and opposing directions. When guiding the foot roller, it is important that the speed remains as constant as possible along the entire length of the movement.

Right from the start ...

Laura can be seen here in her first viola lessons: from the beginning she learns the coordination between the bow hand, the grasping hand and the feet.

Advantages for "active" students

We have observed with several children and adolescents that they can concentrate much better and, above all, longer with the rollers. Some of them were simply "physically active" and others were diagnosed with ADHD. This also made it possible for some of them to play together with others at a high level in a chamber music ensemble, which probably wouldn’t have been possible without.