I wanted to share with you guys a rant that I went on last night, triggered by my 11 year old son. We were driving along, going on some errands early yesterday evening and talking about some things, and he made the comment "I would like to play drums too, but I'm not very good." (This is in relation to the drum kit that I have set up in the basement that I practice on quite a bit - drums are another musical passion of mine. Anyway, the thing that set me off about his comment is that he has probably collectively spent less than 3 hours behind that kit in the 2.5 years that I have owned it. HOW IN THE HECK CAN HE EXPECT TO GET GOOD AT ANYTHING IF HE DOESN'T PUT IN THE TIME?!?!?!?!?!?! When I was a freshman in HS, I would be at the school at 7:45, warming up for band which was 1st period. (8:15) Then, after lunch, I would head up to the band room and play for a bit prior to Jazz band/show choir (I was in both) that was 6th period. After school, I would go back up into the band room and get out my horn and play. Why? Because I LOVED playing my horn. THEN, during the sports seasons, I would be BACK at the school, playing my horn for pep band. As a rough estimation, I spent 3-4 hours a day with a trumpet in my hands - maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less. The point is, I became proficient - good, if you will - not because I was practicing the right things, or putting in all kinds of quality practice on my horn. I developed as a player because simply put, I was behind the horn all of the danged time! My technique developed naturally, (up to a point) because I was just playing the horn all of the time. Playing trumpet was what I enjoyed doing most, and therefore, any chance that I got I headed back to the band room so that I could get out my horn and play. This is also precisely why my son is so good at playing X-Box games - simply put, he puts in the time. If he spent half the time toward his musical endeavors as he spends with those cursed game systems, he would advance MUCH faster as a player. And you should hear him play drums. For no more time than he puts in, the times I've heard him play, he has natural coordination and ability to play them, not to mention solid time for an 11 year old kid. It would be scary how good he would get if he spent the time on them that I do. Anyway, sorry for the rant. For the HS kids reading this - at this stage, it isn't so much what you practice, although that can help, but you have to put in the time. Becoming proficient with an instrument isn't something that just naturally happens for most people, and your best bet for developing the fundamental skills has as much to do with sheer volume of practice as it does with what you are practicing. Of course, this is just my opinion. Sorry for the rant.