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
Get your Stratos here

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
Get your Stratos Here

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
Get your Stratos here




A Fantastic Musical Project In Uganda by Innocent Wodonya

FFM’s  Uganda Ambassador,  Innocent Wodonya is raising money to help young musicians in Uganda. They need to buy instruments to continue the fantastic work already being done by the David Kiwana Wind Orchestra. Please visit their GoFund Site and pledge a few pounds/dollars/yen to help them give music to young people in Uganda.
Innocent Wodonya
Innocent Wodonya 
“We are a starting a wind classics band and we intend to give chance to our players  to play music and we really need your support for us to do it please whatever you give will help give a chance to one African child  to play music .
Thank you all  friends around the world .
Help spread the word!”
 Innocent Wodonya

The international language of music spreads love and friendship around the world and FFM Records will ultimately record and distribute a digital album for our Ugandan friends to create a sustainable source of income for the future.
The music education outreach that music provides is a priceless lifeline for many Ugandans creating  opportunities for personal development much needed in the area.

Please help us help these wonderful musicians be the best they can.
Roger Moisan LTCL PGCE
(CEO Freedom For Musicians)

Please Visit our GoFund Page



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



Work of the Week – Ilja Reijngoud: Somnambulist



Ilja Reijngoud

(July 5th 1972, Leiden, The Netherlands).

After his cum laude graduation at the Hilversum Conservatory in 1996, Ilja taught the trombone there. In 1997 he was the second Dutch student so far to receive the American Degree ‘Master of Music.’Ilja is permanent member of Nueva Manteca, The Dutch Jazz Orchestra, Gino Vannelli’s Dutch Beat Band, The Houdini’s, The Cubop City Big Band, The Jasper van ‘t Hof Quartet, Lucas van Merwijk Music Machine and many other well-known Dutch groups. He was featured soloist with the Metropole Orchestra for four times.

Ilja worked and recorded with Tom Harrell, Ivan Lins, James Morrison, Jim Beard, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Bill Dobbins, Toots Thielemans, Kenny Werner, Ed Neumeister, Jimmy Bosch, Vince Mendoza, Lester Bowie, Bill Holman, Dori Caymmi and many others.

In 1998 Ilja and his former teacher Bart van Lier founded an impressive trombone department at the Rotterdam Conservatory (Codarts). With classical collegues Alexander Verbeek and Brandt Attema they form the trombone Academy of Codarts, Rotterdam. Besides teaching main subject trombone, Ilja is leader of the conservatory bigband for the last 15 years, ensemble coach and arranging teacher. From 2015 the team of trombone teachers at Corats is completed with the great Bert Boeren and Andy Hunter.

Besides being the principal teacher at Rotterdam Conservatory (Codarts), ilja is guest teacher at the Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht Conservatories.

Ilja Reijngoud
Ilja Reijngoud

Visit Ilja Reijngoud’s Official Website



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
Click to visit Italian Brass Week



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



Join the fastest growing and most dynamic International Musicians Community – FFM on Facebook

Join Freedom For Musicians at our Facebook Home

 

Freedom for musicians is an international cooperative for musicians to share and cross promote each other’s work. In our Facebook group you can promote your gigs, products and
services to an international audience. You can also feature on our website www.ffmrecords.com

What Freedom for Musicians can do for you:

By joining the Facebook group you are automatically a member of FFM.

You can have your music blog or articles published on the website.

You can have your music videos and youtube channel published and promoted at FFM.

You can list your products and services on our musicians directory and in the musicians market.

You can publish your events and concerts on our Upcoming Events feature.

You can be a featured artist.

You can become an FFM Ambassador for your country.

Music students can featured in our Spotlight.

You can release your digital music via our own independent record label FFM Records.

Come and join FFM’s Facebook community and be part of the fastest growing and most dynamic international musicians network.

 

The Simply Stunning Algirdas Matonis – Euphonium Soloist








By Roger Moisan

If one were to brew up the perfect storm as a metaphor for a brass soloist, the recipe would be thus:

  • Phenomenal technique
  • Huge range and endurance
  • Sweetness of tone at all dynamic levels
  • Power and control
  • Intense musicality
  • A stage presence, sense of performance and occasion

Well colleagues, Algirdas Matonis has all of these components and more.

Originally from Lithuania, Algirdas Matonis started playing euphonium at the age of eight. In 2000 he entered his first ever competition which was ‘Juozas Pakalnis Woodwind, Brass and Percussion Solo Competition’ held in Lithuania. At only 9 years old Algirdas managed to win the 8 – 13 age group. This was the beginning of his active participation in various music events.

Algirdas continued to enter and win solo competitions throughout his teenage years. 2009 was his last year as a teen competitor. He was offered to perform as a soloist with the Lithuanian Military Band at the ‘International Band and Orchestra Championships’ held in Lithuania where he received the best solo player award and performed at the prestigious ‘Siemens’ arena in front of over 5000 people at the Gala event.




In 2010 Algirdas Matonis decided that he wanted to pursue the life of a professional euphonium player. He entered the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where he studied under the guidance of the legendary euphonium pioneer Steven Mead. In 2014 he got his Bachelor degree and was awarded with entry scholarship for his Master’s degree studies.

During his study years at the RNCM he kept actively performing as a soloist. Algirdas was invited to perform as a guest artist at the biggest low brass festival in the world, ITEC, in 2012 and 2014. In 2013 Algirdas won the ‘Fodens’ open solo competition in UK and received a Besson prize award. As a part of the prize he was invited to perform as a guest soloist with the only full-time professional brass band in the world, the River City Brass Band in Pittsburgh. In 2014 Algirdas did a concert tour with the band, which led to a scholarship at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a move to the U.S.A. a year later.


Since 2015 Algirdas has been living in Pittsburgh, where he started playing with River City Brass on regular basis as well as continuing his Master’s degree in music performance.




At the moment Algirdas is an actively performing soloist with various solo recitals under his belt, having performed at venues in the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Scotland, USA and Austria. Very recently he performed an opening recital in a well-recognized festival in Lithuania called “Sugrizimai”. His performance received positive reviews from music experts and critics through multiple music magazines and public media. Algirdas’ upcoming season schedule is looking extremely busy, filled with not only solo and brass band activities but also many innovative projects which will take place in the near future.

Visiting and subscribing to Algirdas’ Youtube channel is an absolute must for euphonium players and brass players in general. His insights into brass playing and presentation are inspiring and highly entertaining.


Roger Argente becomes new Head of Brass Performance at RWCMD





The acclaimed bass trombone player Roger Argente will become new Head of Brass Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff.

The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama has announced the appointment of Roger Argente as their new Head of Brass Performance.

The Welshman has been Principal Bass Trombonist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for over 25 years, working with many of the world’s foremost conductors and soloists, as well as performing with many leading orchestras and ensembles.

Homecoming

A former member of the National Youth Brass Band of Wales, he has also worked extensively as a session musician, recording scores for leading film composers from Jerry Goldsmith to Elmer Bernstein. In 2005, he started Superbrass, now regarded by critics as one of the finest and most creative brass ensembles in the world.

“Originally from Neath, Roger’s appointment at the National Conservatoire of Wales marks a moment of homecoming for this hugely experienced, versatile professional musician, teacher, publisher and entrepreneur”, RWCMD Director of Music
Dr John Cranmer told 4BR.

“Roger’s personal and professional attributes encompass every aspect of the music profession and we are delighted to welcome him back to Wales.

His appointment also signals the next phase of development for the College’s excellent brass provision, building on a strong heritage and commitment to aspiring musicians from across the globe.”

New Price role

It is understood Roger start in his role in February 2018, one that will see him take over from Kevin Price, who becomes the new Head of Music Performance — a new post created to reflect the step change achieved by the RWCMD following the significant development of its music courses, and the opening of its state-of-the-art performance facilities.

It will see the highly respected New Zealander support and develop its widely recognised activities as a centre for performance excellence, and mediate between the industry-facing training of music students and the outward facing, diverse arts programme.

His appointment also signals the next phase of development for the College’s excellent brass provision, building on a strong heritage and commitment to aspiring musicians from across the globeRWCMD Director of Music Dr John Cranmer

Crucial role

It is seen as a crucial role in developing the RWCMD’s profile and participation within music education in Wales and music industry networks, nationally and internationally.

Speaking about the appointment, Dr John Cranmer added: “As well as supporting the remarkable increase in high-class performance activity at the College, Kevin will be responsible for developing and facilitating cross-disciplinary performance opportunities, as well as managing further enhancements to the student experience and the conservatoire’s wider performance profile.”