Who says he's going to spin his wheels? When I rolled into my first Army band assignment at the end of April of 1990, fresh from the Armed Forces School of Music, I found that 1.) The school didn't really prepare me for what I was going to deal with in a real band and 2.) I was surrounded by players who were much better than me, mostly due to having a ton more experience. So did I go out and get a teacher to come up to speed? Nope - I hit the ground running and by the end of the summer, I came up to their level. I got into the practice room, worked on the music I needed to learn, opened my ears, and worked on my chops. On my own. Without a teacher. This isn't to say that I wasn't picking the brains of the guys around me - I was - but it wasn't done in a structured lesson kind of a way with a specific teacher. I assessed the situation, got to work on what I needed to do to get the gig done, and asked questions that I felt were necessary along the way. I've gone back and read your posts so I know where you are as a player - you probably think you need the lessons, but you probably already know what your teacher is telling you when you go to lessons. Do you really need the affirmation? Is your teacher REALLY telling you anything you don't already know or can't figure out for yourself? If the answer to that is 'yes,' then you probably do need the teacher. However, I'd be willing to bet that if you really stopped to think about it and do a self-assessment, you could probably start to structure your own practice routine without a teacher and improve just as quickly. Also, it's possible that our young buck original poster is a more capable player than you are - he didn't take a 20 year break from the horn so he needs to refine rather than to rebuild. Is there really that much mystery to being able to play the trumpet with enough facility to gig? I never thought so and I don't consider myself to be soaked with natural ability and talent. I've learnd much of what I know about playing the horn through trial and error, and by working out of the same method books everyone else uses to learn the basic techniques required to play. The original poster seems to be concerned about being "the best" among his peers. In truth who really cares who is "best?" By his own admission he's not majoring in music, so if he develops enough chops to play reliably enough to make MUSIC and to gig, isn't that enough?