Learning new pieces quickly and efficiently is the goal of every musician. For example, I play in a musical group that requires me to learn pieces very quickly. Plus, I'm a busy guy who has no time to waste on inefficient practice. So, I've learned to practice with results in mind.
My advice today is based on the following premises.
Premise 1: Slow practice saves time.
Premise 2: Practicing hands separately saves time.
Premise 3: Consistent fingering brings confidence in performance.
1. Listen to the recording to the point where you can sing along or at least be able to recognize a wrong note in your playing. Too many students play a wrong note for an entire week because they are unfamiliar with the sound of the music. This will also help your rhythm, expression, dynamics, and articulation.
2. Whenever possible, pick editions that have editorial fingerings. Unless there is a good reason to change a fingering in the score, don't. Next, take the time to fill in the missing fingerings between the ones the editor has given. This will save you time because you will have to think through and play each note in its proper sequence. If there are no fingerings given, take the time to work out the fingering for the piece and notate them in the score. Now you are thinking, experimenting, and practicing at a very slow tempo with your mind and hands fully engaged in the task at hand. This is an excellent use of your time.
3. Stick with it.
4. Practice in small chunks.
If I can help you, call me.
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted percussionist and drum teacher.