How I Work

How I Work

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This is a kind of introduction to what Sopranoplanet is and how I work with players. It is the same for beginners and for seasoned pros,too.

There are things I need to know from you, including what horn you play, what mouthpiece you play, what reeds you play, what you like and what you don’t like. There’s a list of them in the post THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS here in the ABOUT section.

Once I know those things, I have some understanding of what is likely happening and not happening for you, and then I can consider how best to get you where you want to go in terms of sound and response. Many times there are multiple ways to proceed, but some may be more “elegant” than others. I use the word “elegant” the way it is used in mathematics, meaning the simplest and most direct path. Sometimes, that can be rebalancing a mouthpiece that you already have. If so, I’ll tell you that. Sometimes, though, the piece you have is not going to get you where you want to go. That is usually because its design, in combination with the horn you play, doesn’t want to produce the tone you’re after. If I think that, I’ll let you know.

If I think a different mouthpiece is the right way to go, then it is a matter of identifying which piece or pieces can do the job, vintage or new. I’ll make recommendations for you to consider and I’ll answer any questions you may have about any of them.

At a certain point, you’ll decide if you wish to proceed or not. If so, I will already have all our email correspondence as a reference for the work to be done. I reference that information often as I work to be certain I am on the right path.

Now, here is the thing about working “long distance” : I have to try to ‘channel” your ideas and your approach as I play test the mouthpiece, which I do many, many times as I work. I test it on multiple sopranos as well.I may not have the exact horn you have but I guarantee I have something similar and I can “triangulate” between multiple horns to get the right balance for you on your horn. I do it all the time and I’m successful about 98% of the time. One of the things that gave me an insight into all this is that I owned about 35 sopranos over a 2 year period. I still keep seven. I know, I know. But I learned a lot from all that about virtually every soprano made. At NAMM a few years ago, I play-tested 84 sopranos and took notes on most of them before I “hit the wall”

What about the other 2% of the time when I “miss”? Well, sometimes it takes an iteration or two to nail it. I may have misinterpreted something, you may have not expressed your ideas in a way that I understood, or whatever. It doesn’t matter. Speaking about music and sound is very difficult; we do the best we can. This is a process and it takes whatever it takes to accomplish the goal. What matters is…. it needs to be refined. That ‘second” go-around, if needed, is virtually always a success. And it does not cost a penny other than postage.

But I work hard to make sure that the piece is right the first time, and I don’t post it to you until I am certain it is correct in all respects. It does not go in the post until I am as certain as I can be that is so.

The proof, of course, is when you play it, and that is the only proof there can be. Read what players are saying. That is the proof, period.

But I can tell you this: when you play on a perfectly balanced soprano mouthpiece for the first time, it will change you immediately, and you’ll understand what all these players have said about their mouthpieces from Sopranoplanet.