I do believe a sifter is quite important when preparing matcha, and I also use a small one for making one cup. I will always sift before every time. Will not risk the chance of lumpy matcha and then have to throw the whole thing out.
When matcha is losing its freshness, normally towards the end of the can; they tend to lump more together, I forget what that is called electric static or something, so once you open the matcha the time starts ticking... I like to finish the can in a month, 3 months is pushing it.
I use a chasaku, the wooden bamboo spoon to scoop matcha. I use it to move the matcha out from the sieve, it is more narrow than a the wooden spoon. I think the matcha sticks less to the bamboo, so there isn't much matcha wasted. I use around 1.5 scoops of chasaku per cup.
I also have a sifting can. It comes with a sifter and spatula for sifting large amounts of matcha in one go, then store directly into the can, that is handy to pre-sift your matcha if tired to do it every time. I use it to sift when making large doses, like 3 cups or more, when friends arrive or bringing matcha out on the go in a vacuum flask.http://matchagirlparis.blogspot.com/201 ... a-set.html
Pre heating isn't the most important for me, but maybe sanitize the bowl or keep the drink hot for a longer time, that does help in winter. And I use a chawan or bowl, it keeps the matcha toasty. "Being of rather thick fabric they retain the heat, so that when once warmed through they cool very slowly, and they are additionally valued on this account." When whisking the matcha its temperature drops so in the end the drink wont be as hot, so if you like a hot drink the chawan is good, not as hot as glass when you pick it up in your hand too.
Try sifting the matcha, then pour a bit of water onto it and knead it with the bamboo whisk, like massage it gently into a cream, when no lumps there and you get a good paste, add the rest of the water, continue to knead then whisk quickly into a foam/froth. I think that is easier, tasty, and the smell is amazing when you knead the matcha it releases a great aroma!
I love matcha! Enjoy!