I have been breathing completely wrong for such a long time. I think I've had a breakthrough here but I don't want to count my chickens. Relaxed breath. Sounds like such a simple thing, but I have had lots of tension in my breath from the beginning. I am really concentrating on relaxed breathing and just letting the clams happen. Cool thing is, they are starting to go away and I don't get tired as easily as I used to. I never fully trusted the release of the air. I think the "circle of breath" concept is finally starting to make sense to me. I was trying to control and restrict so much. The ball finally dropped the other day when I watched this trumpet lesson with Mark Gould. He likened the drawing and release of breath to the pulling back of the string on a bow. When you breath in all the way you release right away, you don't push. All the tension and pressure you need for those notes is there, you just have to trust yourself that the notes will happen. I never trusted what came out of my horn. It was always a battle along the lines of "Ok, what type of butchery will I perform today?" I was pinching the notes off and not relaxing my embouchure, forcing air, huffing and puffing so much I could barely make it through a phrase. Now I can play through entire pieces without being fatigued. Well, let's be real, at least I don't feel exhausted. And instead of my chops feeling stiff, they feel loose and tingly, like muscles after you lift weights. I'm sure in the last three days I have done more for my chops than over the last 6 months. Also what is so cool about this experience is that by trusting my instrument and my breath, we are becoming very good friends very quickly. I've always enjoyed our time together, but I'll admit, some days I would not want to practice. Because I felt that I sounded bad and would never get better. Now I look forward to it, and practice longer. I'm going on 3 hours a day again! And that's after being at work for 9 hours! I finally feel good about playing again. It was rough for a while, but I feel back on track. Wind band is starting up this week and I'm so excited to play Tuesday night and see everyone again. Our principal left to play with the Austin Symphonic Band, so I think I'd like to give 2nd trumpet a go again. Also, I recently switched mouthpieces. I was playing on an Austin Winds KF model .600. It was a medium shallow cup, very bright sound. Two weeks ago I switched to a Curry 600 series 610M. I really like this mouthpiece so far. I will probably go a bit bigger after some time on this one, but it feels pretty good all around. Very comfy mouthpiece. Anyways, thanks for reading my rant. I welcome criticisms and any kind of responses from you lovely people. I hope everyone is well. Take care!