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The Good Student

David Raleigh Arnold


If you are fortunate enough to have a teacher, treat him or her with respect. Otherwise, you are wasting both your teacher’s time and your own. Confidence in one’s teacher is one of the student’s most important assets.

If a teacher undertakes to teach you free of charge, you should respect him more, not less. This is the opposite of what most people do, but it is the right thing to do and it is what the best people do.


Don’t try to impress your teacher with what you learned before. Believe me, you can’t, and even if you could, you haven’t the slightest idea how. What will impress him the most is your effort to do and understand.

When you don’t understand something, ask questions without hesitation. Don’t question for some other purpose.

Your teacher is teaching you, not grading you or competing with you. It is more useful for the teacher to know what you do badly rather than what you do well, so don’t be shy. The teacher must hear you play.

Be positive.

Don’t start by showing the teacher that you have a bad attitude. If you really want to make a teacher lose interest in you, turn up with a list of things you don’t want to learn. The student doesn’t know what he needs to learn, nor does he have a good idea of his abilities.

No excuses.

Don’t offer any excuses unless asked. No one is interested in a performer’s excuses. Therefore, many teachers of performing arts consider a “no excuses” policy part of training. Excuses are a bore anyway. This may seem to be personal, but it really isn’t, unless you make it so.

Show up.

No teacher can teach anything to anyone who doesn’t show up. Be on time. Pay what you’re supposed to when you’re supposed to.


And that’s the bottom line.

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