Being a Good Music Student
At this time of year many students and their families find themselves in the process / ordeal of standardized tests. There is PARCC, OAA, ACT, SAT; the list goes on and on. Whatever your view on these tests, there is one attribute that we hope shines through for students regardless of their scores: that of just being a good student.
There are overarching principals that are complementary across a myriad of disciplines. Skills that build character, ethics and resolve. By being a good music student during lessons and at home, children, by default will carry over those skills into all areas of their lives. At times it may seem like a struggle. But remember that musical study is a journey not a destination, and that the process in not a linear one. Keeping this in mind will certainly add to the enjoyment of their studies.
So how does one become a good music student? Here are some thoughts from music teacher Kate Little and her blog entry at violinist.com on March 7, 2015.
1. Come to lessons prepared. Practice daily, including what your teacher asked for. Also, use your imagination and practice something your teacher didn’t teach. Be curious. Try things out, and arrive with questions. Assess your weakest skills, and spend extra time on them.
2. Pay attention. Record lessons and take notes from them. Experiment with bio-mechanics and evaluate the results. Play with expressive dynamics and allow the violin (or any instrument) to become your voice.
3. Be enthusiastic about your studies. Love your instrument. Enjoy music and the people who make it.
4. Support your teacher. Attend her or his performances. Same goes for your fellow students.
5. Attend live concerts. Explore music. Attend plays. Attend art shows. Explore the arts.
6. Arrive on time to lessons, and get to work. Communicate what you feel is working well and where you are having difficulties. But remember, music lessons are not talk-therapy.
7. Think of musical goals you’d like to accomplish, both short and long term. Ask for help in reaching for them.
8. Show respect for your teacher. Express gratitude to those who support your studies. Pay promptly.
9. Work diligently on basic technique. Assume your bowing, intonation, sound can always improve, and that you will be a better musician for having worked on them.
10. Seek a musical challenge. Participate in performing groups. Avoid being a prima donna. Be thoughtful and kind. Avoid gossip. Share the spotlight.
11. Be the student your teacher most looks forward to seeing each week. Ask yourself, “What do I bring to this mentorship? What can I give back to my teacher?”