Hello all. I posted a couple of weeks back that I was trying to get my act back together on the trumpet, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts about how things are going with my playing, and possibly get some advice, pointers or encouragement from all of you. Keep in mind the fact that I'm not a comeback player in the sense that I took time off of playing, because I really didn't because I was still gigging on a fairly regular basis. What I wasn't doing was practicing to improve. Last night I was playing around with some things and although things are still not where I want them to be, I'm actually pleased with some of the things coming out of the end of my horn. I have found over the years that for me, to practice or not to practice is a catch 22; if I'm not practicing, I don't play well and I lose the desire to practice because playing trumpet becomes a frustrating and discouraging endeavor and sometimes I can't stand the thought of actually picking my horn up to practice. On the other hand, when I am practicing, I start playing well and I enjoy playing trumpet, and my desire to practice increases. Playing trumpet is tons of fun when you aren't working your butt off just to keep from falling apart. For this last go around, I just had to steel myself to the fact that for the first week or so, things were going to be rough. Now that I am over that hurdle, my playing has really smoothed out and I think about the things that I want to work on. I have started to work out of my Arban book again, but I have also started playing a lot of real music that I haven't seen in quite some time. This forces me to really focus on what I'm reading, and that is what that exercise is for. I'm familiar enough with the tunes that it isn't completely like sight reading, but it's been so long since I have played or read them, that in some cases, it's almost like I'm reading it for the first time. The other positive thing that has come out of this is my level of endurance. I had a rock band gig last Saturday night and where I normally try to pace myself so that I have chops left at the end of the night (sometimes I succeed in this, sometimes I don't) that was never a problem last Saturday. Not only did I have chops left at the end of the gig, but I felt like I was actually playing STRONGER than I was at the beginning of the gig. The one thing that was a bit of a surprise to me was that the beginning of the gig was a little rough because I was trying to get used to a mouthpiece that I hadn't played on in weeks. I'm doing all of my regular practicing and playing on a 5C, and I use a Schilke 14A4a for rock band. So, things are definitely starting to look up and I am very thankful for muscle memory. I didn't expect my playing to clean up this quickly, but now that it has, I am going to see just how far I can push it. Don't get me wrong, I don't feel like I have "arrived", because I still have a lot of things that I was to clean up and get more consistency with, but things are definitely looking up. Wish me luck!