I believe this should go under the orchestral technique section mainly because this post has a lot to do with orchestral technique. Now for my question: I was looking over the Berlin Phil musicians' list and as I was reading through all the bass players' bios, I kept noticing something very interesting: a lot of these players got their first jobs when they were either just out of college or grad school or still in college. While I can't speak for percussionists at all one example of someone playing professionally from a very young age is Rainer Seegers, one of the BPO timpanists from 1986-present. He was already an active sub with Hanover Staatsoper when was 13 years old. Obviously, his case is extremely rare, and while not really related to my point entirely, it raises some interesting questions. How do these guys get that good that early in their lives as musicians? It has always been a mystery to me how people are musically and technically mature enough to be playing with professional orchestra such a young age. I know it definitely has a lot to do with talent, hard work, and not to mention the huge influence that a fantastic teacher has on your development. About hard work though, I can't remember the last time that a 13 year old was able to harness the sheer intensity of attention and discipline in their practicing that a professional musician needs nowadays to win a job. I've also noticed that for almost all of these extraordinary examples, the players are appointed by someone, rather than being the winner of an audition. My guess is that if there was an audition, someone else would beat them out. I may be wrong though, but I can't imagine a 13 year old beating out the most qualified people on the audition. It just doesn't seem possible to me, unless maybe, you're a genius. Maybe it is (and will stay) a mystery, but hopefully someone can shed some light on this for me.