Thanks Luis–that helps. Last night, after watching the above 2 videos I decided to go back and focus on the mouthpiece position once again–begin at the beginning, etc. I did Clarke Technical #1 (chromatic scales) from bottom to top and had great sensations–to the point that I wound up playing for a while longer doing lip slurs and had good results. I played a long time and thought I wouldn’t feel good today, but I just finished playing and felt great.
Today, I focused again on MP placement and focused on staying relaxed and changing shape to change pitch / not kicking air. I have been doing that but caught myself kicking with the air to try to go higher once I reached my new (higher) limit of my range–I realized this was counterproductive and probably one reason why I was having difficulty with consistency–I think I was following the process to a point, then reverting to bad habits to continue on from there.
Today, I think I had one of those coffee moments–I focused on good mouthpiece position, on having a good air column and not increasing the air but just using the aperture corners to change shape / pitch and felt the center of my lips / aperture kind of pop or slot as I pulled in the aperture corners and I easily slotted up to the next slot or two in doing lip slurs. As a result of this, I wound up playing faster and higher lip slurs than I ever have before and kept a good sound, felt relaxed. It made me think / realize that i need to stay relaxed more and play more and build up the endurance in my aperture corners to be able to change the pitch more / play longer.
I agree that Greg is the man–he has helped me realize that a lot of the different methods / guidance / books out there have a lot more in common than I originally realized and his explanations have helped me a lot in figuring it all out. It’s still frustrating at times, but today was a good day and I think I’m close to “figuring it out”.
Thanks and good luck.