(Since I read the thread started by Mr. Wise about how many blasted mutes he has, I figure I'd ask him.) I have a practice mute, and I used it quite a lot. A former director told me that the added pressure is good for younger players because it "makes you blow". Well, an interesting thing: certain aspects of my playing seems to be better with the added pressure of the mute now. IE range is more flexable, I can actually hit a pedal C without cheating (bending the G down...) While I'm sure the mute has helped me by getting me to use air, I'm kind of unnerved that some of my playing sounds better with that mute... Can I transfer that effect of the added pressure (or fool my mind into imagining it) to my playing without the mute (or without the pressure, whichever's better)? BTW, when I say pressure, you do know that I mean "back-pressure" and not lip pressure.