I posted this on the work blog earlier, but I wanted to add something for here.
I was inspired by “Dear Data” to try something. I few years ago I kept a trumpet practice log. At the time things were just miserable, and the logging seemed to only exacerbate things:
By using some of the techniques for small graphics, icons, shorthand and so on, I’ve started a new diary that encodes certain information about what I did and how well I did it.
Each day I’ll have a “happiness meter” that shows how well or badly I’m feeling. That makes it no longer necessary to gouge the page with a red pen. I’ll show my practice range for the day, a pie chart for the time spent in each session, an indicator of which horns I used (Bb, etc.) and some shorthand for the kinds of warmups and exercises I did. Then in the margins, specific targeted instructions on what to look out for and work on next time.
Though I’ve got to say, I finally went to an orthodontist a few months ago about straightening out the tooth that was bothering me. Many years of playing had pushed back the two lower incisors, exposing the edge of the right cuspid. It wouldn’t take much high, loud playing before the tooth started cutting in to my lip, causing swelling. The swelling made it harder to push the air, leading to more pressure and so on.
I got an Invisalign treatment, and after just a month or two they had gotten lined up enough so that I could play without pain for the first time in years. It cost me about $1,300 but it was worth it.