How's summer for you guys? I'm doing good.
On to the topic--
Ever since I registered in this site, I've been reading a lot of what others say, and have been practicing them as exercises/techniques.
And, over the last several weeks, I've been practicing this one set of exercises that I somehow came across...and I noticed that my playing improved dramatically. So I'm gonna share them right now.
1) Body use. Whenever I started practicing, I made sure that my body was aligned, so that my lungs would move more freely.
2) Breathing. There's this one thing that I found in this website called "the circle of breath." You basically imagine a perfect circle, where the left side is inhale and the right side is exhale. The top and bottom of the circle is round and smooth, and so should my transition between inhale and exhale be. This way, I was able to make sure that I breathed in a relaxed manner, AKA no "pushing" or "choking."
3)Long tones. When I practiced long tones, I applied the circle of breath mentioned above to it. NO TOUNGING, NO BREATH ATTACKS, just EXHALE THROUGH THE NOTES. This proved to be extremely difficult for me at first--this way, I couldn't even play a low C below the staff at first! BUT, as I practiced, I was finally able to play long tones in this manner from the F# below the staff to the G right on top of the staff. So it's all about practicing :)
After a while of using the circle of breath, I began adding a light "T" syllable at the top of the circle.
4)Lip slurs. We all know what that is. I made sure that I still applied the circle of breath...now I can play them without any stomach tension.
Before I did these set of exercises, I had very inconsistent range; sometimes, I could play above the staff, but other times, I found it really difficult to even play above the 4th space E. My mouthpiece was placed pretty low on the lips, too.
But after I PRACTICED with a better mouthpiece placement, I'm now finally able to play with my mouthpiece at the center of the lips. On top of that, I now have consistent range from the F# below the staff to the G on top of the staff, and sometimes up to a high C above the staff
I hope this helps.