Topic: Approaches to tone production and getting rid of the "student sound"

So I'm a high school student of Karen Pierson at Ohio State who plans to major in bassoon performance when I graduate high school and go off to college. I have been playing the bassoon for about two and a half years now and everything so far has been a blast. However, my teacher brought up my tone one day and it has been the bane of my existence ever since. While it has taken some time, I have a pretty solid foundation on voicings and air support, but in exchange for playing in tune, I have found that my tone has grown pretty bright and/or strained in order to keep the pitch up in the tenor register. I have begun doing Herzberg long tones and note formations regularly, so is this something that will just naturally darken my tone as I practice these long tones? I understand that these things take lots and lots of time, but I don't know if there are any "super secret" tone exercises that I might not have picked up as of yet.

I also get a lot of tension in my throat whenever I try and do a high voicing, so any insight to that would be greatly appreciated smile