COMMENTS and FAQs
"A great tool for developing embouchure strength!"
Tim Morrison, International Soloist, former Principal Boston Pops
"A valuable teaching tool and the logical extension of the pedagogical principles advocated by Armando Ghitalla."
Marc Reese, Empire Brass
"Chop-Sticks has been a wonderful strengthening tool for me. I recently won the state level MTNA competition but struggled with my endurance throughout the entire program. I needed to improve this problem for the regional level to come next. I noticed right away that Chop-Sticks targeted the muscles needed to keep a solid embouchure and am very pleased with the results. This is a very good tool for double reed players."
Update: Lisa won the regionals in January and
became a National Finalist.
Lisa Timm, DMA Bassoon
"I finished 2 hours with power and strength, hitting high C's regularly when I shouldn't be able to. I'm having more fun playing than ever. I have such strength!"
Tom Slothower - freelancer, trombone
"It has increased my strength dramatically...overall I give your product a high score, and I would recommend CHOP-STICKS to anyone that wants more strength and endurance."
"Where I have found them to be of great benefit, is when I'm on holiday and I want to keep some semblance of an embouchure...I also find that the isometrics involved, using the weights helps point out which of the main muscles are used in the correct formation of an embouchure...I think the 10-week weight program that you've outlined is very thorough."
professional symphony player - trombone
"I've been using lip isometrics for quite a while, having picked up the concept from some lessons with Vince DiMartino at the Skidmore Jazz Institute. Quite recently, I've been using the 'pencil exercise' concept. When I learned of your CHOP-STICKS, it sounded like a logical extension of the 'pencil' concept. I had already started to wonder about the pencil technique's limitations. After a couple days of use, I am very pleased with the concept and ease and comfort of use...the theory behind the concept makes total sense to me, and I also appreciated the information in the booklet (also, the case is so well designed, I think I'm going to order a couple of extras!) I believe I'm going to see some good results in the areas of endurance and intonation with continued use of this amazing tool."
Pat Wristen - jazz musician, trumpet
"Why use Chop-Sticks anyway?
Your corners are the foundation of the embouchure. This is what gets tired
first when doing the exercises. Many people have apparently found an increase
in the high register, but I am also seeing a strength in the pedal tones.
If one thinks of the corners of the mouth as the 2 anchor
I have also found that my embouchure has somewhat spontaneously moved to the center after over 40 years of being off center. This felt strange initially, but produced a better quality of sound than I had ever had. I am not advocating that everyone needs to play in the center, but in my experience, the Chop-Sticks facilitated this movement naturally and I play with more accurate tone placement that I did before."
Chris Barnes - tuba
"...I find the biggest improvement in reducing mouthpiece pressure, and intonation. I feel I can play more relaxed, keeping the corners firm and letting the air do the work...if you work into using them SLOWLY they WILL improve your playing. Also, you must give it a good 8 weeks, at first you will feel very stiff when you play (first week or so) but be patient, it will be worth it."
military musician - trumpet
"I am mainly using CHOP-STICKS to retain muscle tone when I'm not able to play...I have road time* before and after work to use CHOP-STICKS."
J.P. - trumpet hobbiest
"My son is really enjoying the challenge
of improving the time he can hold the Chop-Sticks and it's perfect
for days when he's too tired to do much serious practice.
Susan, mom from Australia
"I like to keep one set in my car and one set in my bag, so I always have one with me"
J.L.P. - DMA, trumpet
*For safety reasons, Liemar Technologies LLC does not advocate the use of CHOP-STICKS while in motion. Keep out of the hands of small children.
ARE CHOP-STICKS JUST FOR BRASS PLAYERS?
CHOP-STICKS are for ALL wind instrumental players. The facial muscles that are strengthened with the exercise program incorporate all of the muscles that surround the embouchure. This means more strength and endurance from a program that is highly intensive, yet convenient and flexible. Double reed players, especially can benefit from the different sizes used, as they will help to strengthen in a concentric fashion, while strengthening the corners - reducing squeaks, and increasing endurance. CHOP-STICKS has been shown to maintain proper embouchure formation the best with brass and double reed instruments.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO NOTICE RESULTS?
This is very individualistic, but people have reported dramatic changes within a couple weeks. By the end of the 10-week program, most will notice increased strength. Improvements should continue beyond that, as well. This is dependent upon the person's strength in the beginning and the amount of use of CHOP-STICKS.
IS IT EASY TO HOLD?
Yes. Some have difficulty holding the largest weight, so just start with a smaller weight and work your way up. Some children that were tested were able to hold the smaller weights easily.
HOW BIG ARE THE CHOP-STICKS?
The weights together are the size of a pack of gum. The bag is about the size of a deck of cards.
HOW MUCH TIME DOES THE ROUTINE TAKE?
The regular routine takes about 15 minutes. The advanced routine will take about 20 minutes to complete. This should be done approximately 3 times per week with at least one day off between workouts. Once you get a feel for the system, you can make up your own routine.
WILL THIS REDUCE MY PRACTICE TIME?
CHOP-STICKS will not replace your practice time. It will, however supplement your practice efforts. A portion of your practice time should be devoted to increasing your strength. CHOP-STICKS will allow you to do some of this strengthening away from the instrument, and since it is hands-free you can read, watch TV, or work on the computer while you strengthen.
I PLAY OFF-CENTER, WILL CHOP-STICKS MESS UP MY EMBOUCHURE?
Everyone has a different setup, so everyone will hold it slightly different. It is recommended that you hold the CHOP-STICKS in the center of your face in order to strengthen the muscles evenly. If you play off-center, you should hold the weights where you play, unless you want to make an embouchure change to the center. In other words, place the weight in the center of your playing aperture.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CHOPS FEEL STIFF THE NEXT DAY?
Muscles that are overworked tend to contract. If you are repeating the sets too many times, you should simply cut back and see how it feels. To help your muscles, make sure you are stretching your chops between exercises, and end each session with a few minutes of lip or mouthpiece buzzing. This will get more blood into the stressed muscles so that they will heal faster. The nice thing about this kind of strengthening, is that you don't injure lip tissue.
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