Thanks for the update SvV, that’s good to hear and what I expected–because I have been there, we all have. Even some of the greatest players realize at times that they could relax more.
Usually, when things are off for me, its because tension has crept back in. It’s subtle and doesn’t take much to limit our range.
Lately, I have focused mostly on the air and try to keep my lips relaxed and in the center of the air and only engage as much as needed in reaction to the air to keep the air from escaping the mouthpiece. That’s working for me, but perhaps that’s because I spent a long time on passive air exercises to keep from overblowing.
I think i used to believe that I had to form a firm shape with my lips, muscles engaged, to play high, whereas my understandimg is that we should be as relaxed as possible and the only tension is surrounding the the lips, sort of indirectly pushing the lip tissue forward towards the air column / center of mouthpiece, but subtly–i used to pucker a lot and my lips really protruded into the cup, but lately ive been playing a shallower cup and its forced me not to protrude too much and its made me realize just how little engagement is necessary, if I keep my lips relaxed and focus on an open, resonant sound, good feeling, etc. If tension creeps in, I wimd up using more air sometimes and fighting the horn if I’m not vigilant.
Experiment and enjoy the learning process–we learn by failing. If we’re not failing, at least some of the time, we’re not learning.
I try to remember that as it helps keeps my head in a good place.