1. Spend a little time familiarizing yourself with the music through recordings, score study and historical study (Grove’s). Listening through once with score, part, metronome and pencil in hand may be enough. You’ll want to mark in general tempi, and any salient issues that help you to understand the work such as who has the solo line and who has parallel motion with your line. *This step will save time in the practice room!”
2. Know your own part by first rehearsal, and have a viable set of fingerings and bowings in. Principal Second, Viola, and Cello should check your bowings against Concertmaster part to match up parallel lines. Principal Bass should check part against Principal Cello part. For thorny passages or passages that could have varying tempi it might be useful to have an alternative bowing and/or fingering worked out.
3. Devise some system of quietly keeping tabs during rehearsal on what will need sectional work. You could keep a small notebook on or near your stand and then you have already made your list of the passages you want to hit in sectional; or it may be as simple as a check mark in the margins of the music. Trouble spots may not be just the hard passage work. Keep an ear out during rehearsal and ask yourself what ALL the contributing issues are that make a passage difficult. Then address those issues in sectionals.
4. Touch base regularly with Dr. Jacobs to make sure you are covering material needed in sectionals. You could set a weekly meeting time if you wish.