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Day 112

Normally I wouldn't post so quickly after a quite lengthy post from yesterday, but the most amazing thing happened today. I was practicing my stability exercise (as I have every day). Some days I move up the challenge ever-so-slightly from the previous day, but remembering that yesterday was still a bit of a challenge I decided to repeat the same level of difficulty. I was reasonably confident that either today or tomorrow I would feel ready to move up the challenge again. But something happened that was remarkable.

I noticed that my ability to keep my lower jaw forward was significantly better. The first couple of minutes were some of the best long tones I have ever played. Then, all of a sudden, My face started to shake and tremble. I have experienced tremble on this journey as I am essentially trying to train the muscles in my face to coordinate differently and work in a manner that they are not trained to do, thus they tire easily. But today there was a substantial phase shift in coordination accompanied by a tremendous failure of my face muscles to work 'properly'.

I can imagine that this would cause concern for many, but I am overjoyed. It took 112 days to develop enough coordination to enable my face muscles to 'work properly' long enough to completely fall apart. Yesterday when I played my stability exercise, I wasn't even able to put my face in that position and instead my chops 'held together' much more throughout the exercise. With this new level of development, I am going to have to shift my expectations of how long this process will take. It took 112 days to finally get up to the level where I could fail, but I'm failing better! I would imagine an analogy of a baseball player who works productively and succeeds through the minor leagues finally gets good enough to be horrible in the major leagues and now has to find a whole new level of play. I've finally made it to the big time! Now I really have some work to do!

Here is a video demonstrating today's stability (or instability as it were). Normally I just delete them (and essentially use my phone video record feature as a mirror) but the failure was so remarkable that I had to share. It is an unlisted video but embedded here.

To briefly explain, I have a specific pattern of 'beats on' and 'beats off' that I play. I started with 4 on and 4 off and have increased in small doses. I set the metronome at 120 BPM and play for 15 minutes. As I play, I reach points where I shift gears to an easier ratio (less playing more resting) similar to a runner slowing the pace in order to increase the endurance. Today's goal was 1 minute of 18 beats on and 6 beats off, then two minutes of 15 beats on/5 beats off, then 3:30 of 12 beats on/4 beats off, then 3:30 of 10 beats on/4 beats off, then 5 minutes of 14 beats on/6 beats off. To really see the 'collapse' of my face, watch this: