Today I thought I'd reflect on my days as a student, which actually includes up to the present time as I'm finishing off my B Mus. but even more importantly I am always trying to learn everything I can about music, drums, and especially being a better human being. If I look back on my early university days (sometime during the precambrian era, I assure you) I'm struck by the fact that I wasn't a very good student. Oh yes, I was keen and hardworking in a certain way, but there are many things I understand now that make me a much better learner. Let me outline them.
1. I'm much more open-minded
Back in the day, I had very specific ideas about what good teaching constituted. I tended to listen to and do what someone told me to do if I agreed with them (my study with Andre White would be a good example of this) but if I didn't like someone's method, playing. or even their personality I tended to dismiss them out of hand. I suspect in retrospect I didn't even understand some of the concepts I was dismissing, and certainly didn't give them much of a chance. It's interesting, in some types of Eastern based "guru" type situations, the student isn't allowed to question anything his/her teacher tells them. This is probably a bit extreme but it does allow time for the student to assimilate and understand what the teacher is getting at.
2. I value experience as a teacher
I think that when I was younger I viewed lessons as almost a commodity that one could buy, like soap.(This is an idea that has gained in popularity since then, I fear.) As I got older I found so many different ways to learn. This is especially true of music, which like life itself, is very complex and can't always be boiled down to neat and tidy exercises. In one of my earlier posts I mentioned how "on the job" experience, even when it's been quite painful, has been invaluable to me.
So I go forth and am trying to learn every day. I can only hope nowadays I have the bravery, maturity, patience, and understanding to take in information and growth from whatever source it comes from. I encourage all students of music (and life, which pretty well covers everybody) to strive to do the same.