I divide my practice sessions into two major categories. The first is where I’ll follow the Daily Practice routine [mouthpiece play, long tones, chromatics, scales…etc.]. The second portion is where I’ll play/learn tunes. During the first half, I’ll play a 1/2 step harder reed then I normally would, while during the second half [playing tunes], I’ll play my normal “gig” strength reeds – dropping a 1/2 step. My thinking is that similar to athletes using weight training to condition themselves for a specific sport; that is, using heavier resistance than they’ll ever face on the field or court, I use a harder reed during a portion of my practice, in hopes of strengthening the applicable areas, like embouchure, diaphragm, etc. The one potential downside of playing a harder reed during practice I think would be that you’re not playing as you would during a gig, and maybe you would embouchure differently; thus the reason why I “split-train”. If any more experienced players see any other downside in this, please post.
As far as i’m concerned i play the same reed strength that sounds the best to me.
I get your point, you are trying to build up stamina/endurance for a gig.
What you are doing with reeds, you could do the same thing play with a harder size mouthpiece and then revert to your normal mouthpiece.
Instead of doing that – what i would do is work out the average time you spend playing a gig – say you gig for 1 hr only.
Then i would build up my endurance by practicing for 2 hrs solid, then when you hit the gig scene 1hr should be less tireing than 2hrs practice