I'm a sophomore and I'm second chair in Wind Ensemble ( not that it matters. ) and I know I lost first because of my tone. Don't get me wrong, my tone is suffice, but my upper notes have problems being voiced and have a "thin" sound to them, even though I am not in any way biting or forcing the jaw upward on the reed. Having so many different variations of clarinet embouchure make the entire learning/revising experience harder for one who doesn't know what it feels like. Yes, I pull my chin down. Yes, I provide a steady stream of air. What is going wrong?
That's not the question though.
I would like to know all of your techniques on creating a good tone, how you maintain it, and how you create your clarinet embouchure. Creating as in, do you slide the mouthpiece into your mouth (the friction method) or do you do some other form? I'd really like to know, pictures would be wonderful! I'd love to know how the clarinet mouthpiece feels in your mouth, does(did) it hurt your cheeks? Do you drop your jaw and bite down hard with your upper teeth? Please, I'm looking for detailed responses that have a purpose.
Embouchure is hard to discuss on a forum. There are a number of factors that influence sound. I often find with my students that their equipment is not set up properly, so embouchure may or may not be to blame. The only way to be sure that your equipmment is tip-top is to have a professional work with you. By equipment I mean reeds, reed placement, mouthpiece, ligature and placement, screw tension, all the different variables. Once all the variables are near perfect for your playing style, then you can talk about embouchure.
Are you getting a resonant tone on your mpc and barrel? Students often don't have the correct shape INSIDE their mouth, though the outside might look perfect. Think the syllable "EEEE" as in "geek". Thats the shape your tongue should have. The tongue and embouchure should have a "forward" feeling to them. You corners should go towards the mouthpiece, not pull back. Your top lip should push against the mpc slightly, but evenly across the whole top of the mpc (only possible when your corners go in towards the mpc). Your bottom lip should address the reed with the red part of the lip, not too much rolled over the teeth. If your corners pull out from the mouthpiece at all, you will have less "meat" between your reed and your teeth, which gives a thin sound in the upper register especially. It should feel/look pretty natural.
Again, I suggest taking a lesson with a pro to check out your playing and your equipment.
Keep Practing! do your scale C-A (high C to Higher A) keep doing that until your sick of it. it will also help your fingering for higher notes. Also our teacher told us to get a better air or tone quality just play but "steam up a window" to say if you understand this put your hand infront of your mouth and blow warm air that is how you should play. And yes I have been palying for 5 years it does take a lot and I mean A LOT of air but it helps improve your quailty and tone and to get your high notes out you might also try blowing faster air and more of it.