Let me explain.
After a vey successful 1 2 1 with players they very often offer a testimonial or a review of what was achieved. So say for example the player places a review on the Brass Embouchure Group, something like.
‘Had a Stratos embouchure assessment session with Marcus the other day it was really helpful.
Bearing in mind I might have gotten the player up to their first C above the stave, with a really big sound and with head turning sonority etc…. but as it was a few days ago, the player has already forgotten the highest note they could play was only a G ( nothing wrong with that) Do you see where I am going with this?
It is so easy to replace the ‘wow that was fantastic I have never been able to play notes like that before’ … for yeah thanks that was great. Also the reader of the testimonial or review doesn’t get a full picture of the event and in those few days the superlatives and emotion used on the day get diluted to ….yeah it was a great session.
With 1000’s of players using Stratos Encore Pro, after a while its easy to forget exactly what it did for you…… sort of familiarity breeding contempt. In fact much of the thinking behind this being ‘I know what to do now’. So Stratos gets relegated to the drawer. Then after a while you find you are losing your way again, Immediately after you’re reunited with Stratos, the micro positioning will once again corral the facial muscles into the right place, which had been temporarily forgotten by your muscle memory.
To help you understand.
The reason we reach out say for a new mouthpiece or a device or more lessons is because we want to improve and enjoy our playing more and leave your performance platform with a little confident swagger that says, ‘yeah I did a good job there.
When we do find something that works that elevates us to the next level it’s easy to forget what the previous level was.
Here’s a great example
Before I start with a new embouchure assessment with Stratos, I generally ask what would you like to achieve from this session? The answers vary from ‘I want to correct this particular issue’, or ‘I want to play a particular piece and need to be able to play at least up to an A.’
So after approximately 40 minutes of coaching I can usually assess what needs to be done.
This is just for your information, in case you were thinking of having an embouchure assessment so you can get to the next level. But, before I say anymore……
Let’s take a step back for a moment. It may be the case where you say to me I used to be able to play all these notes and used to have a fantastic range etc. before we go any further it generally has nothing to do with age.
If you have read any of my embouchure articles you’ll know what I am going to say- you have not been doing the daily alignments. Don’t feel bad, many players don’t know what to do to keep the chops in shape.
Stay with me – we are going off piste for a while.
Many many years ago they used to find water by a method called water divining. A method that involved using a Y shaped hazel twig that as you got close to water the twig would twitch and virtually point to the place to dig where you would find water.
Sounds far fetched doesn’t it? Well no pun intended, water companies looking for leaks and other companies still use the same method today.
Hey Marcus I hear you say, yeah ok.
Well the Stratos works in a very similar way.
When you first start using the Stratos it does feel strange, much the same as a different mouthpiece. The strangeness comes from the fact the instrument is being eased away very gradually.
What is Happening?
Well several things really, first the realisation that the lips are vibrating more and playing notes with a freedom you may have never felt before.
This is the best explanation I have come up with and was first published in a pre-launch Stratos leaflet some while ago.
Imagine the lips are the building and the mouthpiece is the scaffold. Many teachers say to their students use less pressure, that’s all very well but what do you replace it with? However when they do reduce the pressure the building falls down etc.
Reason – it is because reduction in support to the lips has to be done incrementally. The Stratos will give you that stability while at each stage of reducing weight from your precious lips. The muscle memory can take on the micro adjustments and cement them into your regular playing. After a short space of time, you realise you didn’t need all that weight and pressure to play, as now the lips can vibrate more freely, with
Range, Power and increased Stamina following. Other players and bandleaders start to remark wow! -what a great sound you are now making. So in a very short space of time you have gone from invisible to visible …. And very visible at that!…..
Now look who’s playing the solos!
Oh! before I forget, we are days away from the launch of possibly the most intuitive embouchure muscle corralling device in the world. It is called ‘Stratos Performer’…. The results are almost instant.
Here are my links you might find useful.
Facebook Group Brass Embouchure Advice.
My YouTube channel is Marcus Reynolds Trombone
Any questions regarding improving your playing leave in the comments. I will try to answer as soon as possible.