WARNING: what follows is a rant about an all too general failure among students to follow a basic principle. It involves learning as well as ethics.
The principle is so elementary that it is almost embarrassing to have to mention it. Here it is: a teacher's job is not to do for you what you can do yourself.
I repeat: a teacher's job is not to do for you what you can do yourself.
Take reading a musical score as an example. A teacher’s job is not to point out what is on the page in front of you. S/he should not have to read for you what you are perfectly capable of reading yourself. The sheet music that you have to read does not contain rocket science. All of you are perfectly capable of reading the notes and rhythms and dynamics (and fingerings and bowings) in a musical score.
When you expect your teacher to do for you what you can do yourself - and even if it is not an expectation but happens through simple neglect of your responsibility as a learner - you are disregarding an important principle of learning as well as being disrespectful towards your teacher.
What is the principle of learning? It is engagement. Being an active agent in the learning process, rather than simply a passive vessel waiting to be filled with information, engages much more of your neurology.
In the words of Robert Duke (author of Intelligent Music Teaching), “STUDENTS DON’T LEARN BECAUSE OF WHAT TEACHERS TELL THEM. STUDENTS LEARN BECAUSE OF WHAT TEACHERS HAVE THEM DO.” Active engagement.
Duke continues, “It’s next to impossible to learn anything deeply if you’re simply following instructions. Mistakes are essential in learning, but what renders the mistakes useful is their being corrected by the learner. It’s the repeated attempts in the face of failure that provide the most useful information, hone perception and skill, and develop insight into what the heck it is you’re trying to do. When you fail initially, and someone else does the fixing, you may in fact accomplish the goal you were attempting. But if you do the fixing yourself, you not only succeed; you also understand. And understanding is the key to intellectual and physical independence.” (Duke, 2012)
What is the ethic involved? It is that one should respect another person’s time. Life is short; our time is limited. We can in principle get more possessions, but we cannot get more time. To waste someone’s time is theft of the worst kind. It is stealing from someone what is irreplaceable.
It is extremely disrespectful to waste your teacher’s time with tasks that you could and should have done yourself. Your teachers have much more meaningful tasks to accomplish, and infinitely better pedagogical strategies to apply, than spoon feeding students.
The principle of engagement, of taking responsibility for your own learning, applies not just to reading the notes on a page of sheet music, of course, but to all facets of your studies. Your teacher can provide you with all the resources in the world (instructions, explanations, advice, encouragement, articles, books, videos, etc.), but if you do not engage with it -- do not read, watch, think and experiment, i.e. actively engage with it -- it comes to nothing. It is a waste of time and energy.
Just as your teacher should not have to read notes for you, so s/he cannot hold your bow properly for you, or practice intelligently for you, or keep a daily practice journal for you, or manage your time wisely for you. You have to do it yourself.
Do not expect your teacher to do what you can do yourself. Be engaged in your own learning and respect your teacher’s time. It will greatly benefit you both. It is the right thing to do, educationally and ethically.
Duke, R.A., 2005. Intelligent Music Teaching: Essays on the Core Principles of Effective Instruction. Learning and Behavior Resources.
Duke, R.A., 2012. Their Own Best Teachers: How We Help and Hinder the Development of Learners’ Independence. Music Educators Journal 99, 36–41. https://doi.org/10.1177/0027432112458956