I posted before Christmas that I had hit a plateau in my playing ability, and was a bit frustrated. Well...I am now OFF of the platueau! Since I came back from Dad's funeral in January, my teacher has had me working on some lip flexibility drills from the Schlossberg book. (Without running home to get the book, I think I am on number 62 or so). f Those drills are the single best thing that I have EVER done to improve my playing! Every so often I attempt to play the high trumpet part from Maynard Ferguson's arrangement of Chameleon (sp?). We won second place in a jazz concert playing that piece in high school, but the trumpets had to play the part down an octave. We just could not play that high. Had a case of the flu the other day and missed some work. Had to make up the time last night, so had to miss my trumpet lesson. Tired..stressed...and a bit depressed I picked up the horn. Some scales and low lip slurs to warm up. The work through a couple of double tonguing drills. Take a break, get a drink of water, say hello to the wife. Back to the practice room. I was NOT in the mood to face those drills again. So..I just played. I get like that once in a while. When I pick up the horn, I don'tt even know what I am going to play. I just let the horn be my outlet, and let my lips go where they want to. So...horn up. Big breathe ....PLAY! And ripped off the high part of that song for the very first time. it wasn't perfect by any means, but it didn't make the dog howl either. (Yes..the dog WAS in the house at the time!) Now, in the glory days of my youth, I could not play anything above D (above the staff) with any musical quality at all. And the highest I could hit was E above the staff. This part goes up to high G! I just kind of stared at my horn, thinking....."Where the %$## did THAT come from!" But this is not just about range either. I have noticed over the last few weeks that I have gotten many more complements from people in our community band. Many of the the comments have been about how good my tone is. I hate those drills. I dispise those drills. I can't stand those drills. Those drills are absolutely no fun at all for me. I think I will be working on those drills pretty hard tonight!