once i sat in a small crowded room with a couple of now professional drummers and tried to a play drum set in front of them. they were encouraged by my attempts in front of such an intimidating audience (wasn't a drummer then either), but i'll never forget the words and concern of one bucket baker, who was trying his damned best to get me to loosen up a bit. bless his cotton socks. all throughout my classical musical training - on a trombone and various bass brass - i was always in a line or a band. i got real good at being the man to rely on for a solid bass down beat, but i rarely, if ever, really loosened up. all trained up, with nothing to say. flash to some 10 years later and a little success in real life affords me the opportunity to explore music the way i'd really like to, first with a drum set, then with a bass or two. slowly, in the privacy of my own living room, and in within the precise environment of a digital workstation, i began to understand - on drums - what loosening up really meant, while i still lack any serious chops. all the words from the old gurus about the Inner Game, and the relationships they would draw to things i did understand, eg skiing, or riding a bike, began to make perfect sense, and helped guide me through the process of letting it flow. using the same process as aikido, one understands that true control really only lends itself to those who merely guide the momentum of their playing, as opposed to trying to control and possess the entire process, or everything. hence the need for good habits, as this process can only be intuitive and natural. as natural as speaking your own language. but how did you learn to speak? never forget, the way you learned to speak is not by reciting letters and and words over and over - you learned to speak by asking for a cookie. and you don't need to sound like a game show host, or the Queen when you speak either. i'd much rather listen to bill hicks, john madden or george carlin. if you find yourself frustrated with music's deep secrets, remember to take the time by yourself and ask for a lot of cookies.