I always start with techniques – play all the scales, chords, and arpeggios. Start slowly then gradually increase the tempo. I can spend anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours on techniques depending on how long I have to practice.
I like to sight read pieces that I’m not working on. It’s a fun and less intense way to ease into “practice mode”. Also, the more sight-reading you do, the better you get at it – therefore, it helps you learn new pieces and songs A LOT faster!
This is where I dissect the pieces and songs I am working on. I break them up into sections and focus on the sections with the most challenges. To have an effective practice session, you MUST break the piece/song into sections. It can be tedious at times but it will pay off – TRUST ME!
Take breaks, they can actually help you focus. In the past, I would practice about 4 – 5 hours without a break, after those practice sessions I would feel exhausted and burnt out. To the point where I felt the practice was not effective. So take breaks, not too long, but take them!