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Practicing on the mouthpiece alone and learning to play tunes and scales helps to develop control of the oral cavity which is essential to playing overtones and altissimo.
I AGREE wholeheartedly. After two years of trying every day to produce and stabilize the first three OT on Bb1--G1 or so, for kicks I started blowing the MP+reed alone before assembling onto neck. The very day I got my first reasonable one octave scale on the MP (by larynx elevated, chords mid-apposed, mid-tongue-raised-forward-thrust tip-down spitball-launch voicing... never mind, trial and error and muscle memory is the only way!) I found 7 OT for the low fingerings, front E3 sounded decent, and alt. G3 and G#3 were almost reliable.
Now I play a M9 range with tunes and patterns on the MP every day for just a few minutes and my OT, alt. and tone on the tenor are markedly improved and intervals more reliable.
By the way, first OT on the MP+neck alone is simple, as is bending down a m3rd.
 
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