A long time ago I figured out that my first few notes of the day, especially in the morning could discolor my whole performance/practice session. Giving me an unfavorable attitude about the day to come. If I took these tones seriously that is. Also the feelings in my chops would sometimes be negative. Occasionally irritating and in rare cases painful. So what i came to believe was that on those days and most days for that matter I was far better off playing for just thirty seconds to a minute on some low, soft chromatics and then taking about five to ten minutes completely off the horn. I would blow some soft chromatics, put the mouthpiece in my pocket to warm it up and then go put the water kettle on the stove for coffee. Returning to my horn after a warm cup of Java everything came back to life like the day before. Like magic! Then there would be some rare occasions when even this didn't work. Like the morning after a heavy heavy R & B gig. Or the Sunday after a very demanding week of professional engagements that had collectively charlie horsed my chops. On those days I would either not play at all or extend the "Preliminary Warm Up" into several sessions. Each with a moderately long break including several cups of coffee. Or go do the chess puzzle here: Chess Puzzle of the Day On the worst of the worst days when I absolutely had to play? Well I'd take a whole hour or more to warm up but with long breaks and lots of pedal tones in between. About the only time I will even do pedals now is when I probably ought to be taking the whole day off.* By realizing that the chops needed time to wake up I'd vastly improved my whole outlook on the day and future of my general trumpet playing career. Another thing that can help is giving yourself a facial massage fifteen minutes before the first note of a gig. In fact the "Preliminary Warm Up" acts exactly like a facial massage. It's what it is really. Another good idea on those days when you simply don't have time to practice? Just do at least the "Preliminary Warm Up". I can go two whole weeks with no gigs or practice and still keep half decent chops by simply performing this warm up trick every day. Keeps the chops engaged to the brain. So try my "Preliminary Warm Up" and see what happens. *Pedals when done to reinvigorate a beaten up embouchure can be detrimental. An addiction. More beer for a hangover: Your chops are mashed so you play a bunch of pedals. Bringing your chops temporarily back to life where you can beat them to death even more. The "hair of the dog that bit" etc.