I play jazz/lead trumpet in high school and I'll be a junior this coming year. I play lead in my high school's top band, which is very competitive, and have made lead in several different regional and state jazz bands because of my range, sight reading abilities, and overall playing technique. However, my tone is among the worst (if not the worst) of any serious, practicing, dedicated, high school musician like myself. I use a pretty shallow mouthpiece for playing lead, which I can get a bright and decent upper register tone on, but my mid-register tone is nothing short of horrific. I've had 4 different private teachers in the past 5 years, 2 classical and 2 jazz (currently studying with jazz teachers), and they have all noticed my dismal tone for my otherwise much more advanced all around playing skills. They have given me lots of different advice, including small technique changes such as not using the pinky ring, playing with the tips of my fingers on the valves rather than flat fingers, and using a more relaxed embouchure that puffs out slightly when I play, as well as different exercises, including long tones, lip slurs, soft playing, playing ballads, and mouthpiece buzzing.
The part that has shocked and continues to shock many of my bandmates, teachers, and myself, is that none of this has worked. And this is not the typical "it's not working fast enough" frustration, it literally has gotten ZERO results. When I started trying to work on improving my tone in 7th grade, 4 years ago, it was very airy and weak sounding, since then it has gotten clearer but now has a choked, dying duck-like sound that hasn't changed since I started working on tone. No, the mouthpiece is not the problem; I normally play on a semi-shallow piece for lead work but I have the exact same choked, disgusting tone on mouthpieces as big as a 1 1/4 C, only with a slightly darker sound. Watching my friends, specifically trumpet players around me, all who have worked hard in the past few years but none harder than me and all having great tones, is getting extremely disheartening and making me skeptical about continuing with trumpet if my tone doesn't get past elementary school sounding level. Even as a primarily lead player and jazz improviser, I believe tone is the most important and most noticeable aspect of someone's playing, and with a tone like mine it almost makes my other skills on trumpet a waste.
Is there anyone out there who has this problem or is familiar with it? Like I said, among all of the musicians I've met in my school and through other local ensembles I've met, I have yet to hear an experienced, dedicated player with a tone even close to as bad as mine. Is it even possible to fix??