What is Stratos? A Product Review


Stratos Brass Embouchure Training System

The Stratos Brass Embouchure Training System is an adjustable attachment for all brass instruments designed to improve your embouchure. The Stratos Embouchure System helps to reduce mouthpiece pressure by counteracting the natural urge to pull the instrument closer to your face. This will directly improve your range, power, tone, stamina and overall playing. The Stratos System is handcrafted in the UK from high-quality aviation grade polished aluminium and simply attaches to the leadpipe of any brass instrument.

Stratos
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Power Without Pressure

The Stratos Brass Embouchure Training System is a high-quality practice aid which reduces mouthpiece pressure and ensures a good jaw position. Excessive mouthpiece pressure restricts the flow of blood to the lips which results in reduced stamina. This is because the muscles at the sides of the lips are hardly being used and these muscles determine lip tension. The Stratos System encourages a balanced “floating” jaw position by reducing mouthpiece pressure and ensures the correct muscles are used. By using the Stratos System to encourage the correct position, musicians will develop an even tone throughout the entire range of their instrument.

Stratos
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Fully Adjustable

The Stratos Embouchure System is incredibly versatile and can fit onto the leadpipe of any brass instrument. The system is easily adjustable to ensure the sprung cushioned cup sits comfortably against the musician. The Stratos System is handcrafted in the UK from professional aviation grade aluminium which is then polished to match the aesthetic of your brass instrument.

Reviews

“I want one and I want it now” Jens Lindemann CM – International Trumpet Soloist

“STRATOS is particularly useful in my warm-up, to focus my mind on the basics of a good embouchure set-up. Really useful … a great bit of kit” David Pyatt – Principal Horn, London Philharmonic Orchestra

“As an educator and a trombone player, I was so amazed with the STRATOS as a beneficial aid for the chops (lips) that every brass player should have. I believe this to be an invaluable tool for busy educators like myself. I would recommend it to all brass students.” Lord Chris Jeans – International Trombone Soloist

Stratos
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THE HOUSEHOLD DIVISION MUSICIANS ASSOCIATION BAND

Septem Juncta In Uno – Seven Joined As One

 

The band was formed in 1981 and is made up of former musicians from the seven regiments of Her Majesty’s Household Division Bands namely:- The Life Guards, Blues and Royals (now the Household Cavalry Band), Grenadiers, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards Bands. The present Household Division Musicians Association Band follows a long tradition of music making by musicians from these famous regiments.

Most of the members are still playing in leading London Orchestras, London Theatres, or teaching in music colleges and schools throughout the country.

The Band performs at numerous public and private engagements, most notably The Chelsea Flower Show, Eastbourne Bandstand, and at The Royal Hospital Chelsea. The Band rehearses at The Royal Hospital Chelsea, with which it is proud to be associated.

The band rehearses once a month on a Sunday morning from 10.30am  – 12.30pm at The Band Room at The Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Royal Hospital, Chelsea

Contact form to hire or join us.

Director of Music: David Vaninetti-Smart FLCM

Image result for david vaninetti smart

David began his musical career at the age of 13 as a trombonist for Barnstaple Town Military Band and Bideford Town Brass Band. In 1987, he joined the Army and was posted to the Band of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment. During his two years at the Royal Military School of Music, David took a change of course, studying flute and classical piano under Graham Mayger and Veronica Clayton respectively. It was while he was at Kneller Hall that David discovered his passion for writing band arrangements.

After postings to Northern Ireland and Cyprus in the early nineties, David successfully passed an audition for the Life Guards Band of the Household Cavalry. During a series of summer concerts for the Household Cavalry band, David was persuaded by the Director of Music to take yet another musical change: he became the principal oboist of the Band, a position that he held until he left the army in 1998. During his military service he has performed all around the world, playing for all the members of the Royal Family, The Lord Mayor of London, as well as countless Ambassadors and diplomats.

More About The Household Division



Andrea Tofanelli Invites You To Italian Brass Week



The Italian Brass Week is an international festival born 19 years ago under the artistic direction of Luca Benucci, the first horn of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. During these years, the festival and the Association have dealt with the formation of thousands of young artists from all over the world, with the aim of consolidating a reality that too often goes unnoticed and give the opportunity to emerging musicians to participate at a primary visibility event for the world of brass and music.

The mission is the enhancement of great Italian and foreign talents, through promotion and cultural exchange. The festival gives the opportunity to young students, new professionals and professionals to take part in an event of international importance, to play and learn from the most important musicians in the world of brass, being part of the greatest orchestras, conservatories and universities.

The high level of training and the quality of the event were rewarded with the bronze medal of the President of the Republic and with many other awards, obtained for the importance of the event and for involving generations of young musicians, who were trained and they have become excellent interpreters.

The Italian Brass Week has moved to various locations in Tuscany, Santa Fiora, Vinci, to land last year in Florence, because Florence is an important reference for cultural growth. It is a city devoted to hospitality and already culturally renowned as a meeting point between present and past.

During these years the artistic quality of the festival has always been guaranteed by the presence of virtuosos and soloists from all over the world, Italian, European and international teachers, jazz bands and brass ensembles who participate, compare and play together in an important moment for the professional growth of all the young people taking part in the festival.

Italian Brass Week
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The Mouthpiece Booster – A review by Roger Moisan



By Roger Moisan

To boost or not to boost; that is the question. The mouthpiece booster has been around now for about 25 years and was originally developed by Denis Wick in response to the Bach Heavytop Mouthpiece Range. “What does it actually do?” I hear many brass players ask. Well, to start with, it doesn’t boost anything. What it does do is add mass to the mouthpiece, thereby reducing vibration loss at the busy end of the instrument. This enhances the sonority and weight of sound creating a richer, darker timbre with more overtones. No, it doesn’t make playing easier but fortissimo dynamics hold together better.

I have used mine for many years now but am selective in which genres it is appropriate for. Always orchestral as conductors love the sound but not for jazz and big band playing.

There are now many versions of the booster available which fit different mouthpieces with alternative weights, but the most versatile and simplest is still the Denis Wick model. There are boosters to fit every brass instrument from cornet to tuba and they provide an extra option for the versatile brass player.

Check out the ‘With and without’ video and see if you can tell the difference.

You can study online or in residence with

Roger Moisan

rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk


Stratos Embouchure System – A review by Roger Moisan



By Roger Moisan

 Stratos is the brainchild of trombone  player Marcus Reynolds who suffered a terrible accident when a stage collapsed while the band was playing. This left Marcus with serious facial injuries which devastated his playing and career. He invented Stratos to enable himself to rebuild his life as a musician.

“Following a serious stage accident that led to major reconstructive surgery, he had to battle to learn to play again. This struggle gave him insights about the brass embouchure that he used to develop the STRATOS system. The development and refinement of STRATOS took nearly 3 years but has resulted in a system that is used successfully by hundreds of brass players world-wide to improve their embouchure and playing.”

www.stratosembouchuresystem.com

In a nutshell, Stratos is a small device that attaches to the instrument or mouthpiece and regulates the amount of frontal pressure the player may place on the area of contact with the mouthpiece. This has the immediate effect of freeing up blood flow to the delicate musculature of the embouchure and lip tissue, thus allowing improved endurance and sustainability of playing. Jaw alignment is also a result, causing the airstream to flow directly into the centre of the mouthpiece, thereby maximising tone and the weight of sound.  A more relaxed embouchure develops, improving flexibility, slotting and range. The air stream is more effective as a result of continued use, making the whole brass playing experience much easier, which, in turn, lets the player focus more on the music and less on the physical aspects of brass playing.

I personally use Stratos in my warm up each day to set the embouchure ready for my practice session. I then play a variety of exercises:

  • Claude Gordon Systematic Approach lessons 2 and 7
  • Charles Collins Lip Flexibilities Etude 1, Etude 5
  • Max Schlossberg (various exercises)
  • Valveless scales
  • Cat Anderson Whisper G

I use Stratos during my session when practising a lyrical phrase. I play the phrase once then remove the plunger on the device and repeat. The freeing effect is immediate and causes the muscle memory to ‘kick in’ when playing that phrase.

Teaching beginners with Stratos is brilliant as you can set up a student’s embouchure correctly and most effectively from the outset. Their progress is faster, more sustainable and ultimately more satisfying for the new player.

Finally, it is my opinion that Stratos is the simplest yet most brilliant addition to the brass playing world, bar none. As with all great inventions, it is often necessity that gives birth to a new concept and if it wasn’t for Marcus having to rebuild his playing from scratch, we wouldn’t now have this asset to our brass playing lives.

Roger Moisan LTCL PGCE

For more information about Stratos and how to get yours, visit: stratosembouchuresystem.com



The Valveless Scale Exercise For Trumpet – By Roger Moisan


By Roger Moisan

The valve-less scale exercise.  

This is an advanced exercise for trumpet players to help develop embouchure strength, pitch surety and control.

  1. Play a strong low F to establish pitch.
  2. Remove the tuning slide and play the same note. Hold the instrument lightly and finger as if playing normally.
  3. Slowly, play up the F major scale trying to pitch and centre each note. This will be very difficult to start with especially the first 3 notes after the F. The G, A and Bb are outside the natural harmonics on the leadpipe.
  4. As the notes begin to sound more easily, play the F major scale up and down slowly. (Always finger the notes as if playing normally)
  5. Finally, replace the tuning slide and play the F major scale again slowly without the valves.

This exercise can be extended into other keys and also into playing melodies. I like to play ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ after the scale exercise.

Caution! This exercise is extremely tiring and should only be performed after a good warm up and rest for 5 minutes before continuing practising.

Never play this exercise in the ear shot of a fixer! They won’t understand and will think you can’t play.

Study online or in residence with

Roger Moisan

rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk