Just wanted to share this out there...
Quite by accident, I lowered the angle of the horn a week ago just a bit for everything above, say...a 2nd line G (maybe...5-7 degrees?) and it's making all the difference in the world. I *always* run a constant feedback loop from the sound in my head to the physical aspects of playing to the sound that comes out, but this slight change has me amazed...and very very pleased. The results?
- less overall effort to play (ie. more "output" for any given "input")
- more air gets through the mouthpiece (bigger sound with less work)
- slightly different muscle groups being brought into play (less fatigue)
- less pressure on the upper lip (obviously)
- a more even sound, and a fuller sound in the upper range (top line G to high C)
- muuuch better control at all dynamics, all the time
- better & improving high range (I'm a retread, and a high register is finally appearing!)
- and greater day-to-day consistency.
Why? I figure the tolerances inside the mouthpiece are critically small and things are now simply lined up better for my arrangement of lip, teeth, tongue, jaw and airstream.
For what it's worth, I also watched a YouTube of Chistopher Martin (Principal, Chicago); he plays with an angle a touch lower than most players. I read that Phil Smith (Principal, New York) reported a considerable improvement when he lowered the angle. Paul Merkelo, (Principal, Montreal Symphony) has a *very* low angle and is an amazing player. And Roger Ingram (or someone like him) believes that many players who have trouble with high notes simply don't have enough (upper) lip in the mouthpiece.
Am I advocating this for everyone? Definitely not; everyone's different. But for those who do everything else more or less right and who practice (and practice with ears open) but *still* feel something's not happening as it should, this might be considered.