Any gear changing is smooth and balanced. This will be how you use the clutch, gas and gear stick.
If it is lumpy this means you are not changing properly or are changing into the wrong gear. As the clutch comes up start to lightly apply the gas and this should make for a smooth change. If you get lots of revs you have put the gas on too soon. If you get a clump the gas is to late.
When using the gear stick learn to palm it. This will help to make sure you are selecting the gear you have aimed for. Sometimes on a car the spring might pull the gear stick elsewhere. Palming will take care of that. Sometimes selecting reverse can be difficult. If this happens move it into first the straight back into reverse and that should help.
The correct gear is the one that gives you the best use of the foot controls for the speed at which you are driving. At 30 mph in first gear your braking may be brilliant. But if you needed to speed out of danger there will be very little left for you to do that.
Which gear and at what speed will change from car to car, but also what you are doing at the time. If your car is whining it normally wants a higher gear and if it is grumbling it will want a lower gear.
Block changing is good practice. This is more commonly done going down the gears such as 4-2, 3-1. It could even be 4-1 if the time was right.
Look far ahead and plan. This will make for smoothness and be safer.
A good rule of thumb is gears to go brakes to slow.