People like Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong made trumpet playing look so easy. Some of it was natural ability, but I know that they didn't rely on secrets or special equipment. Meanwhile, in jazz band, in an arrangment of My Funny Valentine the first player holds out a C, D, then an E above the staff, but cracks the latter two. The first player plans on being a musician, so I know that he is dedicated, but it's just not there yet. I'm definitely not ready for first part, even though I'll be the only senior trumpet (no juniors, either) in jazz and marching band. I'm using what I think is good technique, using the lips and not just air to play, emptying all of my air, and using a relaxed tongue, but I don't have the strength to play and not just hit A above the staff. At this point, is the only solution more frequent practice? I don't practice as much as I'd like because I'm too worried about disturbing others. One of my parents works nights, and sleeps until about 6 pm. I get home from school at 2:30, so that leaves me about until 7 pm to practice with no mute. I use a silent brass system (the mute alone), but that's not pleasant. What other mute can I use to keep practice at a not-too-loud level?