When practicing quietly, is this absolutely all practice? I'm talking about even long tones, warm-ups, slurs, run-throughs, ect. Of course I also want to keep some of the dynamics when practicing songs though right? just keeping it all very quiet? If I am getting to the point where I'm starting to loose notes from playing too quietly, should I play a little bit louder untill I can go that quiet or push myself to go for that quiet point now? One last thing regarding the pencil excercise. I'm trying to work my way up to a full size pencil with this, but also found that I can get more of a "burn" in the corners of my lips by just tightening it as much as I can and holding it there, about a minute, and then relaxing. Is this good or bad for lip development? I tried to make it sort of mimic what the pencil excercise would do only without the pencil since my lips aren't ready for the full size one yet. *Edit*- How do you work towrds an open throat while playing higher? It feels like tightening my throat is changing something with the air that lets me get my range and I can't figure out how to play without it. I can get that open throat easily with excercises away from the trumpet but can't apply it to my upper register.