Putting Together a Practice Schedule
Figuring out when and how much to practice can be daunting, especially if you are learning a new instrument. New students tend to overwork themselves if they are passionate about succeeding. They often get frustrated at their lack of immediate progress. For this reason, it is important to implement the less is more approach.
Many times students think that they need to set aside a 30-minute or 2-hour practice session, but this is simply not true. Just as cramming for a test may result in a passing grade but not necessarily retaining information, the same can be said for practicing. The human brain needs time to absorb subject material and can only handle storing so much information at a time. This is why scheduling several short practice sessions rather than one large practice session per day is much more effective.
Students should consider arranging several 5, 10, or 15 minute practice sessions throughout the day (or when they have a spare minute). These sessions can be separated into as many categories as are applicable to the instrument/student: technique, repertoire, character work, etc. Those students who focus on specific goals when practicing, they are more likely to be successful than those who practice for long periods of time with no goal.
Rachel Stern, Voice Instructor