Howdy folxs, I hope all is well w/everyone. I have a problem and just thought I'd pop on here and see what y'all pros have to say. I'm a wannabe lead player. Wannabe as in I have ok chops but no real direction. I got to a school in an area where everything is "if it ain't classical it ain't legit." HAHA, play on words.. Pun intended... lol. Jazz isn't highly regarded here and there isn't really any trumpet players/teachers who play jazz, much less lead. So down to bussiness... Over teh past few yrs I've really done some soul searching in figuring out what I want from life. I wish to be a performer, to play trumpet somewhere, preferrably in a jazz-rock/bigband setting but I'm not picky. I hear all these cats that are just "naturals" and amazing players that make it all look so easy. How do I do that, what do I need to be a sucuessful player in this feild. I know this isn't in a format of a question, more of a fustrated guy venting... How do I make it sound hard, look easy, and be so clean. Listen, listen, listen is the answer I forsee coming henceforth, and I know that this isn't makign sense, but hopefully someone will try to help a poor soul and make some sense out of this... Thxs in advance. About me: Been playin' since 7th grade. Car wreck in HS took me out of commision for 2 yrs. Never heard/played jazz until senior in HS/freshman in college (ultra conservative family upbringing). Now I'm lead in our top jazz band here and wish to leave some knowledge to the few guys below me who are gonna be takin my place in the next couple yrs as I've had to do everything I know on my own, reading, listening, etc. While equipment helps, I don't think it's the endall of playing and I'm happy with my setup.