As teachers and practice parents it is important to express constructive positive feedback to our
students. Suzuki cello teacher, Alex Revoal, recommends considering the following steps in
order to craft effective and supporting feedback:

1. Be specific – Instead of a vague compliment, try focusing on a specific teaching point.
Something like, “Your notes sounded for the full beat, which made the melody sound fluid and

2. Tell the truth – Children can tell if something is or isn’t true, so avoid embellishment or
hyperbole in your positive feedback.

3. Remove the child from the equation – Try not to credit or blame the child. Instead of saying
to your child “you played a wrong note”, try, “that last note sounded a little high/low. Let’s review
where that note is played on your flute/piano/guitar” Likewise, for a correct note you could say,
“that note sounds just right.”

4. Focus on the effort/process rather than the outcome – Encourage your child to think about
the importance of putting in the effort and staying focused, even when it’s tough. A few example
comments are, “I could see that you’re really stopping and thinking and making changes with
every try. That’s a great way to make progress.” Or, “This new spot is very difficult and I can see
you’re getting frustrated. I’m proud of you for continuing to try.”

5. Observe objectively and describe – Try to avoid evaluating behavior and focus on objective
description and labeling the demonstrated desirable quality, “The fingering you used was just
how the teacher showed it. That will develop your technique so you can play even more music.”

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