Thanks, but Jeff Smiley deserves the credit! All I did was provide the book and a little encouragement to stick with the program.
So here is the latest in my saga...I have recently changed my embouchure setting to put more top lip in the mouthpiece and setting the rim on the bottom lip; it is completely different than my old setting which was apparently all wrong, because I have seen an almost overnight improvement in endurance, accuracy, mobility and slurs. It has also allowed me to play fff in the mid and low registers and add some edge when needed. I cannot play the high register with this setting (yet). I believe that this new setting is a result of the RO exercises, and it is probably what most other players are using, but since it is hard for them to describe what they are doing, and you can't see inside the mouthpiece while they're playing, I never realized that I was using a setting that was inefficient and holding back my progress. I feel like this is a huge breakthrough for me!
I keep forgetting that BE does not prescribe an "ideal" setting, just what works, and BE helps you find that.... apparently BE has done that for me; I NEVER would have even thought of playing with this new setting. So, this new setting is like riding a stallion; it has raw power and grace, I just have harness it. My practice now is aimed at getting the "feel" of each note with the new setting...
I KNEW that there was something fundamental that I was doing wrong, the symptoms told me that... unfortunately no one but you and BE steered me in the right direction. I got the classic list of solutions from teachers, friends and pros, none of which (important as they each are) got to the heart of the problem.... you need more air, you're too tight, too loose, too puckered, too smiley, too much pressure, not enough pressure, too much practice, not enough practice, not enough support, wrong mouthpiece, wrong horn, it's mental.... believe me it was MAKING me mental!!! Not any more.... I'm loving my practices.... thanks Val, you're the best!