Day 51? Really? Made it over the hump? Sadly: not flawlessly. I did miss two whole days while visiting with family in Maryland. Disappointing, but it wasn't a complete miss, on either day. And it is real good to be home.
On those "missed" days, I DID do my mental exercises: went over the tunes I've been working on, in my head while sleepless at 1 am, 3 am, and 4:20 am. Meaning, actually mentally/physically connected the notes to my fingers, all in my mind. It is a true challenge because when playing, it's easy to forget what the actual notes are and just rely on muscle memory.
Ultimately, that's what we are looking for in playing music... but I also noticed in concert the other night that sometimes the mind goes blank and the muscle memory goes with it! In my case, I was performing a tune and couldn't remember where the second part started, and muscle memory was failing me then, too. This is where having a conscious awareness of what note the part started on would have helped.
Mental practicing brings the conscious brain back into the mix... consciously creating finger movement (while remaining entirely still) on those notes.
Is this a cop-out? I'm thinking not. Still, it doesn't help the physical muscles that need movement to create the notes. It doesn't help my embouchure. But it does deepen knowledge of the tune at hand. (Pun not necessarily intended, but most appreciated.)