I was surfing around on youtube and came across this video about practicing by Tommy Emmanuel:
Come to find out he practices the same way I do. As he puts it, he:
1. “plays songs”
2. plays harder songs over and over, “purely for motor skills.”
I’ve never been a highly disciplined player. I’ve never had a set practice schedule. I have, in the past, tried to plan out practice sessions, but that usually lasts 20 minutes. Instead I view practicing (as I do composing) as a way to explore music. Usually, I will play pieces that I feel like playing, and when I am tired of a piece, I will go on to the next piece that sounds good. Occasionally I will take a piece, or a section of a piece, and play it over and over. I usually do this with difficult pieces. For example, when I am practicing Leyenda I will often just repeat the first section over and over. When practicing Recuerdos I might repeat the piece 10 times (including repeats). I find that after a few repetitions I get into a groove.
The only thing that changes this practice routine is if I have a performance coming up. If I know ahead of time, I like to play the piece, or pieces once a day starting around a month before the performance. At least I try to do that. If I am playing a full concert I might play one section one day, and another section the next day.
I think the most important aspect of practicing (or composing) is that it should be enjoyable. If you are not enjoying your time practicing than I would try a different approach.
scores, tabs, and mp3s available at http://www.robertlunncomposer.com