How do you spend your practice time?
I often get asked this question, so I thought I would take a moment and address this topic. The truth is that I'm not a great student in the traditional sense. For me, it's an all or nothing deal. When I first started learning how to play the harmonica, it was easy to find motivation and stay focused. In fact, I played several hours every single day the first year or so. It was a bit of an obsession for me as are most things in my life that I actually accomplish. Sad but true. As time goes on, not every harmonica song or riff is going to capture your attention and push you to reach further.
So, here's what I recommend. If you can schedule 3 to 4 days, an hour a day, out of your week for practice time, I think you'll find that accomplishing your music goals is much easier. First, set very specific goals for a specific time period that you'd like to accomplish them. If you don't reach those goals in that time frame you can always integrate them into your next round of goals. I strongly recommend that students divide their time into very specific/targeted practice of songs,melodies, techniques etc and jam/free time. In fact, I think that you should carve out at least 20-30 min of each practice session for free time to let your musical mind explore and have fun. Some of the biggest "aha" moments have happened for me while just jamming along with a famous harmonica solo or to a jam track. Besides, learning to play an instrument should be fun before anything else; that's what keeps you engaged and focused in the long run. If it's not fun, you will likely give up on learning the harmonica.
Let's face it, sometimes this instrument can be extremely challenging as certain techniques require an exactness from the player to get that sound they're after. When you are focused on techniques or learning new riffs etc in your practice time, don't give yourself too much to accomplish in a short period. Ex: 30 minutes could look like this: 10 min on bending exercises, 10 min on a new riff, 10 min practicing a melody. Of course, you can adjust those topics and times a bit according to your schedule and ability to focus.
One of the series of lessons on Harmonica123 that is a great tool for these practice sessions are the "blues licks" lessons. I recommend just trying to master a few licks at a time before moving on to the next one. I realize that most people probably want to go through and at least hear all of the licks one time through but then it's important to tackle each lick as if it were an entire score of music. That's how you'll get the most out of those lessons. Keep it simple and have fun!