There are so many ways to practice, but often so little time to do it. Here is one practical approach to practicing.
- Make sure you have a time and place set aside to practice, preferably free from distractions (i.e. pets, other siblings, food, tv or other electronic devices, etc.). If you don't have a plan to actually do the work, it won't happen. Consistent practice yields better results than marathon sessions (practicing in one big clump) ever will.
- Use a timer or watch the clock a little to divide your practice time. If you practice consistently, you really won't need to practice absolutely everything in every practice session. Break up your time logically. For example, if you have 30 minutes to practice, spend 5 minutes on scales, 5 minutes on exercises and etudes, and 20 minutes on your repertoire (piece or pieces you're working on). By working this way, you warm up your fingers and ears with your scales, chip away at the etude that is helping you develop or hone a certain technique, and then you get plenty of time to work on your piece(s).
- Set goals for what you would like to accomplish in your practice session. For example, you have 16 new measures to learn in your piece. You could break that up into four sets of four measures that you can focus on separately for four days and then you can put them all together in week's remaining days.
- Look at your new music in terms of layers. Instead of trying to get the notes, rhythm, bowings, dynamics, phrasing, articulation, and all your posture and bow hold concerns correct all at once, separate them into layers. First get the notes, then, when you feel comfortable with that, play the notes slowly with a metronome to make sure you're getting the rhythm right. After that layer, add the bowings and then keep adding all the other elements in a logical order. You may find that simplifying like this will improve your accuracy and give you an opportunity to find more ways to be expressive.
- Write down in your notebook what you worked on and for how long each day. This will help you become more accountable to me as your teacher and to yourself