I’ve found that the best practice schedules have a combination of rigidity and flexibility. By that, I mean that they include some things that you’re going to practice every day, no matter how you feel that day, and that they also give you some leeway to practice what you’re interested in each particular day. This way you’ll get the continuity you need without becoming stale.
With this in mind, here’s one possible 1-hour daily practice routine for jazz piano:
15 min: Building repertoire (memorize the melodies and chord progressions to jazz standards. Keep a list and periodically keep playing tunes you already know so you don’t forget them.)
15 min: Chord voicings (learn both one-handed and two-handed voicings for the tune you memorized in the first 15 minutes. Also experiment with new voicings for tunes you already know.)
15 min: Work on your soloing (pick a different technique each week or month: chord scales, motivic development, playing “outside,” block chord soloing, etc. Work on each in turn until you’ve brought it to a new level; then move on to another technique. Practice the technique on one or two tunes per day.)
15 min: Play tunes. (Have fun and simply play them as if you were on a ‘gig.’ Don’t think about what you’ve practiced too much. Just play and play and play some more, with some of the songs from your repertoire list.)
This is a good routine, and I’m sure you can come up with some variations on this according to your own musical tendencies and needs. Have fun and feel free to share your own practice routines in the comments below. What have you found that works for you? What did you try that didn’t work so well? We’d all be interested to ear about your practicing experiences!
Here are some further ideas to help you get the most from your piano practicing: The ebb and flow of piano practice