Manny, I was practicing today and working specifically on my articulation and I started to ponder the level of technique I have obtained and retained over the years vs. the level of technique that has been obtained by those I consider to be "world class" players. The way I look at it, technique is a means to an end; the ultimate goal is to be able to play music as expressively as you can, and therefore I would tend to think that the ideal would be that your technique is at such a level that it becomes as natural as breathing - your horn becomes a true extension of the body. Does anyone ever really "get there" and have their technical ability so refined that it is no longer ever a concern? At what point do you decide that your technique is good enough, and rather than structuring your practice toward improving, your practice is structured toward maintaining the technique that you have built? Have you gotten there, where your techinque is "enough", or are you still working to refine your technical ability? I ask because I know that for me, in my years of playing, I have waxed and waned on certain aspects of my technique, due mostly to the fact that there has only ever been a relatively short time frame where I actually structured my practice in a disciplined effort to improve all aspects of my technique, and that was over 10 years ago. These days I will work from time to time to rebuild some things that are lagging so that I can actually feel ok about collecting my cheque at the end of the night, but mostly, due to my life being what it is, my practice time is structured more toward maintaining than building. This has been frustrating at times because I also feel that while my technical ability has waxed and waned, I have continued to advance musically, and there is becoming an increasingly larger spread between how I would like to play something and what my technical ability actually allows me to play. Does that makes sense? I guess I was just curious if you have ever assessed the technical aspect of your playing and been totally happy with it because it has afforded you the ability to play things exactly as you want to - your technical ability balances and matches your musical ability - it is "enough".