The nubbed massage roller has inspired us in several ways: it was a roller like this that prompted Erdmute and me to develop the bow attachment. We have written about this elsewhere. With a very different kind of roller we discovered what at first was a fairly simple way to "release" tension while playing. With that a field of experimentation opened up in that enabled us to find out what else the roller can do when used intelligently. The results to date are highly interesting and we are still experimenting.

How did it all start? Looking back it began rather modestly. We placed a roller under our feet, at first while playing in standing, and rolled it back and forth. Then we extended this to our pupils, and ultimately to pianists too, and integrated it into chamber music tuition. It was wonderful! Everyone said that it felt so "warm" and contributed to a positive feeling while playing. From then on the majority only wanted to play with the roller. It was marvellous!

One day an invitation arrived to mount a concert at fairly short notice. We had often played as a duo. But this was something else: we had to devise a new programme in the shortest possible time with, for us, largely unknown works that rhythmically were very tricky to play together. We didn’t want to simply play them "correctly" but to take them to another level. So we had to come up with something, because there was just no time for intensive study!

We sat down in the rehearsal room, as far from another as possible, and began to pay exact attention to the underlying rhythms with the rollers under our feet. We had to agree on the rhythm and orient our playing to it. That was hard, really very hard, because it had to be so exact. I no longer recall the precise details, but I do remember that somehow that was our breakthrough, and we came up with ever merrier and trickier combinations – even well after the concert. Then a long while Erdmute began trying out complicated things with her pupils and students ... and arrived at something like a joint sport.

The effects are stupendous! Massaging your feet with the roller might sound rather "odd," but if it enables me to get a far better result a whole lot quicker, and at the same time is incredible fun, that’s reason enough for me to continue experimenting.

I'll write another time on how things went later on when internalising musical phrasings!

In our shop you can find all the rollers that were judged to be good by us and other musicians who like experimenting.

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