I'm posting this not because I really think that anyone here is going to care that much about whether or not my chops are in shape, but I'm hoping for a little inspiration because I know that most of us feel like we are all in this together - that we are all having our own little personal battles with this wonderful instrument, the trumpet. I don't know if this is common knowledge, but some of you know that I gig pretty regularly in both a rock/show band and a Big Band here in the Baltimore area. Over the last six months or so, my chops have deteriorated a bit, mainly because I just haven't been giving myself the time behind the horn that I need to. I'm still getting through the gigs ok though, because for the kind of playing that I do, especially with the rock band, finesse behind the horn tends to take a back seat to endurance and just getting through the gig. Recently, I have made plans to go back home and do some playing in church - a kind of playing that I used to consider myself pretty decent, but also a kind of playing that I haven't tackled in quite some time and I found to my dismay about a week ago when I started working with the music, that my legit/finesse playing is G-O-N-E Gone! So, I have done what any other dedicated trumpet player in my position would do - I started practicing again with a renewed purpose. So far, so good. Several aspects of my playing such as clean attacks, articulation and flexibility, are coming back into focus pretty quickly. This isn't to say that a week of dedicated practice can make up for letting it go for well over a year, but it's nice to know that the chops don't really forget, although you do have to dust those cobwebs off and oil the hinges again! I have 3 months to get myself back to where I feel like I'll sound like I know what I'm doing behind the horn in a legit setting again. Wish me luck!