“The most important thing I look for in a musician is if he knows how to listen.” — Duke Ellington
As a student learning to play a musical instrument you can spend a lot of time learning notes and rhythm. While these skills are important, the skill of listening to your own playing is crucial to creating a beautiful sound and becoming independent of your teacher.
Teachers can be wonderful assets to your growth as a musician. However, if you don’t learn to listen to your own playing you will always be waiting to hear from someone else if what you played was ok.
As you take lessons, take advantage of the listening skills of your teacher at your lesson. They may hear things you don’t and give you valuable insight. When you practice at home, you are your own teacher. Listen closely to the sound you make and adjust your playing to what your ears tell you.
This conscious act of listening may slow you down in how many pieces you can master with the notes and rhythm, but it will greatly increase your ability to create and enjoy your own beautiful music.