The question is complex. First, the "ideal method" is a subjective choice, because it depends on the psychological characteristics of the individual.
To begin the discussion, I suggest some preliminary tasks:
1) Read the music in theory: try to sing the parts, such as the main melody, but also the bass and possibly the inner parts; try to follow the music at the right time, also helping with the hand movements (similar to those of the conductor); is therefore a mental reading and at the same time voice and gesture. This is to keep all the parameters of the sound, those written and those that can be deduced from an analysis or a subjective choice; then try to imagine them in your mind; Finally, try to translate them into movements of the body functional and effective.
2) try to finger the piece; if the fingerings are already marked on the score, try to hide them and look for your fingering; in this way you can immediately enter into the hearts of executive problems. The fingering prescribed in the score (which is rarely the work of the author, more often than a reviewer) can be studied later, as compared with your choices; but the starting point must be a careful personal observation of the figuration of music, so that it can be done with a proper fingering. The fingering has two purposes: to find the most comfortable position; find an effective application of the choices of phrasing.
3) identify the physical movements appropriate to the individual rhythmic movement (meaning always up to beat the next movement): in this way, when you go to the piano you already have a full awareness of what needs to be done to make the most of every single passage.