When practicing we would like to make the greatest benefit in the least amount of time. To do this we need to have an awareness of our mental and physical experience when practicing. Focus on one fundamental exercise at a time. And moderate our effort in the practice session. I will talk in a little more detail about these factors. One of the biggest issues is not being aware that the mind is wandering on to other unrelated topics. When we practice with a mind that has basically nothing going on, we lay the conditions for quick absorption of material. If we are unaware that the mind is chattering or day-dreaming, then we can’t bring it back to our focus. So, we really need to start with awareness and consistently refresh our attention. This is mental awareness. Another area of awareness is attention to the body. We need to know if the body is tense or relaxed. In a more extreme sense we need to know if there is pain in the body. In particular, where our bodies involve playing the instrument. Shoulder, elbow, wrist, hands, and fingers are particular areas of concern. Focus, one-pointedness, or concentration is another area we need to work on and develop. Here we want to pick exercises that are simple and aimed at training in fundamentals. Mastering the very simplest exercise is very powerful. Also, choose an exercise and try to stick with it. Occasionally, a variation or a new exciting idea might pop into the mind. Take note of it and try to return to the present exercise. Keep going until the exercise feels complete. Once complete take a minute or a few to rest the body and mind, allowing the exercise to absorb. Effort is the next factor. This is a tough one. Too much effort and we spin our wheels. Too little and we can’t get going. The middle-way is our best option. We need to get traction, so applying the right amount of effort for our current mental and physical condition is important. When we get this just right, our practice will actually feel very effortless and our perception of time will change. We experience a flow-state. These factors and details are ideals. Aspiring to these practice standards is something to aim for. They are skills that develop over time. Don’t change anything in your practice sessions too drastically. It’s always okay to simply pick up the instrument.