I'm a comeback player and endure a 2-hour daily return commute to my day job. Alas, I don't think my fellow straphangers would appreciate me practicing the horn on the bus at 7:00am <sigh> so I listen to a lot of audio books. Malcolm Gladwell's 'Outliers' has a fascinating chapter on what it takes to become expert that will be of interest to any player here, particularly to those aspiring to become pros. To summarize: he explains that research shows that it generally takes about 10,000 hours of application (study/practice) to become a recognized expert in most fields, including music. He cites the Beatles year's in the Hamburg clubs, long before they became noticed in '64, where they played for hours and hours every day for months; and studies undertaken in a university music faculty that divided wannabe musicians into three groups according to the opinions of their professors. Those in the top group started like everyone else around age 8 or so with the usual 30-45 minutes/week...but by the time they were in their mid-teens were practicing 2 hours/day; at least 3 hours/day by their late teen years; and more in their final student years. Without exception, these were the ones who became the top performers. The book goes on to look at sports teams, people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, geniuses, etc., ...always examining the real factors that influence and bring about phenomenal success. The overall conclusion? Being modestly talented above a certain level is an important factor, but getting there is mostly hard work - at least 10,000 hours of it. A highly recommended read.