Practicing your instrument is an absolutely critical part of being a musician. In order to grow as a player, you must take the time to carefully develop and mature the skills and techniques that are specific to your instrument. Here are a few tips to help guide your daily practice sessions:
Warm-ups: Don't just sit down and start playing through your concert music! Think about what we start with every day in class: a warm-up!
Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
Set aside as little as 15 - 30 Minutes each day for your practice sessions - try it at the same time each day to develop a routine.
Remove distractions, like computers, TVs, little brothers, etc. to help focus your practice session.
Remember, SLOW practice is very good. Simply "running through" your music is usually not an effective practice technique.
Record yourself practicing! While you may "think" you are playing something correctly, upon listening you may discover mistakes you did not realize were occurring.
Use a METRONOME to help keep your tempo steady and to aid in your slow -> fast practicing.
If you get frustrated with a passage, take a break. Go outside and walk around your neighborhood, go eat a snack, or go watch TV for 5 minutes. When you come back, you may find the passage you struggled with is much easier than before!
Practice with friends who play your same instrument or part. If you can't play something, they may be able to help you out (or you could help them)!