Neal, over the years I've had to, out of necessity due to living a busy life, develop a "practice smarter, not harder" approach to my practice. This means that I don't always practice every day, although before a gig I always make sure to have at least 4 days in a row, with a light day the day before the gig. I try to listen to what my body and chops are telling me, and focus on what needs to be worked, rather than adhering to a specific routine. I don't know if that necessarily means that less is more, but I know that at my age, I don't recover like I used to, so pounding it out daily isn't always the best approach because sometimes we need the break, both physically and mentally, and especially if playing trumpet is a part-time endeavor. If I was a pro and depended upon it for a living it might be different, but I'm not, so I do what I can with the idea of being the best I can be for the next upcoming gig, and leave it at that. Speaking of gigs, I've gotten thrown some real curveballs in the past. There were times when I had what I felt was an important gig coming up, and on the surface, I did everything right to prep - I practiced consistently, got good sleep and exercise, ate the right foods, made sure I was hydrated, and then had an awful gig. And then there were times (years ago - I don't do this anymore) where I'd get busy and I'd roll into the gig without having touched the horn in days, tired from not getting good sleep, not eating good etc - virtually nothing done "correctly" to prep. And then I'd blow the walls down. It just didn't seem to make sense. These days I shoot for a general level of consistency, but I'm not adverse to taking a day (or two, or three at times) off. Then again, I'm no Manny Laureano or Arturo Sandoval, so there's that.