I saw a post on another thread by Patrick, briefly referencing the development of his chops and some range milestones, and was immediately grateful for the insight on the time it took him to develop, since I occasionally feel like I'm just treading water or even going backwards. So I'm very curious to hear from others about your personal journey, starting maybe with your first student horn and 7C mouthpiece to where you are today, including your milestones and accomplishments along the way - the development stages of your range/chops/tone, where and with whom you've played, and any notable performances or recognition. Mine's short and easy. Back in spring/summer of 2012 I was trying to figure out how to productively use my lunch hour to develop a skill or ability. I've played with sleight of hand magic my whole life and play several sports for recreation, but I thought the first pursuit a bit juvenile, the second one rather impractical, and both of them somewhat pointless in the context of dedicated practice time. I had played trumpet for a few years in Middle School and, being an avid music-lover, decided I wanted to jump back in with both feet. So around July/August I finally dug out my Yamaha student horn and gave myself a 2-month crash course in excruciating frustration before signing up for lessons. Shortly after that, I embarked on a mouthpiece safari, which was probably ill-advised, but I'm glad I got it out of the way, and the Stork I ended up with is very comfortable for me and I still like it today. After about a year, I saved up enough to buy a used Yamaha Xeno, and I played that for several months before I found a great deal on a new B&S Challenger II, which I had previously played and thought highly of. So I made the switch again, and am still playing on it today. Now, in December of 2014, I've benefited greatly from advice on this forum many times over, from a multitude of sources and perspectives. There is no question that the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Y'all are great. About 6 months ago, I unlocked a new standard (for myself) in my tone and the ease with which I can play it, often requiring little or no warm-up. My practical range is usually A-B above the staff, although I've occasionally hit notes much higher than that in practice when the stars and planets line up perfectly. I've noticed that the stars and planets usually line up perfectly on weeks when I get extra practice. Hmmmm..... I've performed a small handful of times in public, all church-related, and never for money, but I've enjoyed it immensely. I played for the first time at church in late November of 2012, with a piano and violin accompaniment, and since I'd kept the whole thing a secret from my wife, she was blown away, and we absolutely killed it in the performance (due in no small part to the amazing pianist I was playing with, and my sister's artful violin work). I had people coming up to me for weeks afterwards saying it sounded amazing. Unfortunately, the last time I played, I was playing from memory and had a minor implosion when I forgot about 5 notes. Completely forgot them. Played 5, um, improvisational notes, and created extreme dissonance which was never resolved. My tone was unimpeachable, though. I actually practice before or after work these days, and usually hit the gym on my lunch hour, but I'm very happy with my routine. Playing the trumpet has been awesome and has produced not a single regret. It has greatly increased my appreciation of jazz and trumpet music in general, and opened up new horizons in what I listen to and enjoy today. Oh, and I got to meet all you good people. Soooooo................what's your story?