September 26, 2011 5:10:55 PM EDT
Great Post! Producing a steady tone throughout the entire range of the horn is very important. A great warm up exercise is to play the scales in whole notes, not only does it help with breath support but endurance as well.
One thing I think of working on breath support is to realize that the all of the air coming from the diaphragm through your mouth gets to the tip of the mouthpiece in your mouth and backs up because all of the air can't go through the much smaller opening created at the tip of the mouthpiece. For lack of a better word, the air "bottlenecks" and creates back pressure. This back pressure creates the resistance we feel when playing the horn (the degree of resistance comes from our mouthpiece and reed setup). We need to learn to push the backed up air through the mouthpiece making the reed vibrate, the force required for this comes from the diaphragm. When we take a breath we need to completely fill up with air. We will fee our chest fill up, our shoulders rise, and lastly our stomach fill up. This type of complete full breath will create the back pressure/resistance needed to "fill the horn up.
To really fill up the horn and create a good sound we have to learn to push the air hard. This will take more air than we use even to yell. When playing the saxophone we have to learn to really force the air through the horn and this is something that you would only do if you are playing a wind instrument. I always tell my students that the pros make it look easy but they are really pushing a lot of air through the horn.
I hope this makes some sense and is helpful. it's kind of difficult to explain in words. So please feel free to post clarification or questions.