We all know the famous song by Aretha Franklin, but do we ever take the word “respect” seriously enough? It is always important to be respectful to others whether it is at the grocery store in the check out line or at a job interview with the head of a company. But it is also important to exercise respect as a musician in both the performance setting and in private lessons.
As a music student, you should have the utmost respect towards your instructor, even if you both disagree with something. It is imperative that you follow the guidelines the instructor gives you about tardiness and absences by adhering to the rules and following through every week. If your instructor tells you to call them at least twenty-four hours in advance about an absence, then call your instructor- do not email or text them unless your instructor explicitly instructed to do so. Just call! It is as simple as that. We are fortunate to live in an age where technology, in its various forms, makes it incredibly simple and easy to do nearly everything, to the point where there is no excuse to not notify an instructor about arriving late or not at all to a lesson. Can you imagine what Wolfie Mozart’s studio policies would have read? Perhaps something like, “Please notify me by carrier pigeon well in advance of a scheduled lesson if there shall be an unavoidable absence.” There was no email, no Internet, and no phone in the 18th century. So lets be grateful for what we have now and utilize it to the fullest!
Why is it important to have lessons on a regular basis? Three big reasons: Growth, maturity and knowledge. Remember back in high school when we had to memorize elements of the periodic table to prepare for that big test we had at the end of the semester? Or when we had spelling bees back in grade school? What did we do to remember all that information? We practiced every day and after just a few days of regular practice, we were able to recite that entire poem we had to memorize for the poetry contest, or the entire Bible verse we had to memorize for Sunday school. In the same way, it is important to have at least one music lesson every week, to get better at our skills, gain maturity in our musicianship, and soak up endless amounts of knowledge that eventually culminate into a mind full of boundless skill sets in the flute (or whatever music you are into!)
As a professional musician, I am the superior to my instrument; I cannot let my instrument control me, I must control it. When I am in orchestra rehearsal, the conductor is the superior to me and I must obey what he/she says and be respectful towards him/her. I must also be respectful towards the musicians around me by being kind when asking questions, being courteous when warming up before the rehearsal, and respecting the space around me. Without being respectful in the performing world, you will not get anywhere in the business.
Calling ahead of time about an absence, coming to your lesson every week and being courteous towards your superiors are just a few things you can do to own up to the word “respect.” Please be respectful to your instructors- they know a lot and are putting all their knowledge into you because they believe in you and want to help you become the best musician you can become and achieve the goals you want to achieve!