Keep in mind that I never said that a person shouldn't use a recording as a frame of reference, only that one shouldn't try too hard to emulate in a very specific way. I use recordings ALL THE TIME. It's part of how I practice because my band plays charts in the original keys and arrangements for what you hear on the radio. For me it's as simple as pulling the tune up in iTunes, pulling the chart up on my iPad, and then playing along. This is a valuable tool when it comes to phrasing, inflection, articulation style, etc. But with that said, I'm not trying to specifically emulate a particular sound when I do it - I kind of do my own thing with it, within the context of the tune of course. To illustrate a couple of examples, when we (on the rare occasion) play, "The Hustle," the bandleader thinks it's funny and enjoys it (actually requests it!) when I play that trumpet solo with really exaggerated vibrato. (EDIT: I just pulled this tune up and listened to it - that player does use a real big vibrato, but I approach the line a bit differently than he did, and my vibrato is even bigger! ) Likewise, when we do "Ring of Fire" (it's funny how well a Johnny Cash tune will hit on a first set) that's another song that gets a really exaggerated vibrato, but what I do with it is mine - I'm not trying to sound like the original trumpet players. In contrast, when we do "Tijuana Taxi" I don't do quite as much of the inflection that those guys did. I do some of it, but again, it's kind of my own thing within the context of the tune. (As a side note to that, at one point I didn't give Herb Alpert his due as a player - those Tijuana Brass songs are not nearly as easy to play as those guys make them sound.) So I'll agree with Kehaulani about listening to the recordings for inspiration, but remember the context of your particular playing situation - a High School Musical. Your pit is not going to sound like a Broadway pit orchestra - it won't have the experience or depth of talent across the board. With that in mind, even if you match the style of the recording and just nail that vibrato just like the recording, is it really going to matter or will anyone really care, or will it enhance the performance overall? I guess what I'm saying is to do your best, but don't get wrapped up in the details that may not matter until you get a good hold on the details that will.