Happy New Year!
Hop everyone is staying safe and keeping positive.
Although Ontario is currently in lockdown again, I am able to keep using my practice space because it's attached to a recording studio, and they have special dispensation. The down side is, when there's recording going on, I can't make much sound in my room.
So, even though it might be a bit of a review, I thought I would discuss elements that will make a short period of practice time much more effective.
1. Review what you worked on from your last practice session.
It's good to try and remember the last thing you worked on so you can build on it. Write it down if you need to, but even being able to recall things you're practicing is good for your memory.
2. Don't try and do too much
Just pick a couple of things and you can alternate them if you get bored. For extra fun and challenge, try and integrate the 2 ideas. This is great for thematic thinking and playing.
3. Any amount of time spent with your instrument is valuable.
Play along with a recording one time through. See how long you can play a groove without wavering. Solo on a Jazz standard. Play single strokes at a challenging tempo and work on staying relaxed. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten something great out of a 5 or 10 minute practice session.
There is a lot of mythology around players that practiced for hours and hours, and I'm not knocking anyone with the opportunity ( and more importantly the patience and mental capacity ) to do this. I'm just saying, if you only have an hour, there's a lot you can do with that. :)
Enjoy yourselves and here's to an improved 2021!