How to Be a Great Student PART 1!

How to Be a Great Student  PART 1!
Sunday musings...

This will be a multi-part blog as ideas begin to gestate and develop...

Being a great student doesn't mean you kiss ass,  or bring coffee for your teacher (although that's always welcome!!), or that you nod and agree and never ask a question.

Seriously - what makes a great student?  How does the entire process begin?  Are you aware that from your very first query into lessons with any said teacher you are already paving your reputation, not just toward that teacher, but into the business itself?

It doesn't have to be daunting.  Being a great student just has to be claimed and dealt with.

Let's begin with the initial query.  You are trying to decide with whom you would like to study.

Have you done your homework?  As you've asked friends and colleagues and  other professionals in the business,  have you then researched these teachers to the best of your ability?  Google is your friend!

Have you discovered information about the possible teacher's background, philosophy, teaching style, and studio policy so you have specific questions formed to ask about when contacting them?

Should you call or email?   Ask around.  No harm in doing both.  The phone call could be a follow up to the email - as an email can contain much more information and be re-read and answered to more easily.  I prefer email,  but that's me.

How formal should you be?  If you do not have any contact with this teacher, err on the side of formality.  If the teacher prefers less formality they will answer you thus.

Your query should introduce YOU and what has brought you to the decision to contact the teacher and what you are looking for in requesting information.  If something clicked for you while reading about said teacher, tell them!  I always like to know if you read something on my site that directed you my way!  If someone recommended you to that teacher, mention them.

Be respectful.  I know that sounds like a given, but it's not.  Respect comes in many forms,  and the first email of enquiry must show that respect.  How?

Having assumptions and visiting those assumptions in an initial enquiry are disrespectful.

What YOU expect isn't going to read well in an initial email or phone message.

Learning how to use language appropriately to show respect of self, said teacher and the discipline you say you want to study is key.

We all know how important money is!!!  However, there is way to ask about lesson fees without it sounding rude, or simply leading with it.  What a teacher charges for his/her time is her decision.  This is part of the studio policy.  How a teacher runs his/her studio is her decision.  As an enquiring student,  you need to know these policies.  After introducing yourself,  respectfully asking for information regarding the studio policies for lessons, fees, cancellations and other pertinent information is fine!

Emails or phone messages that simply offer a first name and only ask what I charge are ignored.  These are not serious students.  They do not yet know how to come "correct" and therefore, are not ready to study intensely nor seriously.

Probably one of the most bizarre and ego-filled "enquiries" came from a young man who mis-spelled the name of the person who recommended me to him,  and then instead of asking what was required of him, began to tell me what he would do for me and what he wouldn't - including what he would pay and what he would expect.

Last time I checked,  I don't sell used cars.  I replied to that one.  And I haven't heard back!!!!!
However,  the reputation of that young man has been affected by that email already.

One of the most eloquent emails and enquiries I have received gave me information about the singer,  why she contacted me and then finished with - would you be interested in working with me ?  THAT showed an understanding of being a great student!  And yes, she finished with  "an opportunity to consult with you would be something I would look forward to; if this is a possibility, please let me know the details of your studio's policies and I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience".

Serious students enquire and reveal.  They recognize they need information, and they need to give information.  The teacher/student relationship has to develop that recognition and mutual respect from the very first contact,  or it simply does not have a place to launch from.

This is just part 1....

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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