One of my favorite musical expressions is teaching piano. I am a relatively new teacher, and so I still have a lot to learn. One of the many skills I am trying to develop is how to utilize praise appropriately. What kind of praise is best for my students? Is praise different for each person? Is there a right and a wrong way or are there many right ways?

I have had a lot of music teachers over the years, and all of them used praise a little bit differently. A few teachers were very liberal with their praise. They would shower me with compliments every time I did something even if it was only partly correct.

My current violin teacher has a philosophy of offering very selective and limited praise. This helps me to become a better violinist and do good work for the reward of the work, not the praise. When he does offer praise I know it is sincere and it feels AMAZING. But my real reward is a passage of music I can play as well as improved skills.

I have learned that each person has different needs for feedback. As a friend, a sister, a daughter, and a teacher, I have the opportunity to make sure that those needs are met in unique ways. In my piano studio I could use my teacher’s method of selective praise with confident and driven students. For other students perhaps I could increase my positive feedback. I hope as I grow in my teaching and also my personal relationships I will come to understand what each individual needs to hear from me.

For the music teachers out there, how do you navigate the various teaching methods especially with regard to praise? I would appreciate your thoughts and ideas.

This post was inspired be a prompt I found on the Daily Post. Thanks WordPress! 🙂

3 thoughts on “Praise

  1. Hello. you asked for feedback, on blogging 101 and here is my replie . I was never in this situation, to be a teacher. But I played Gitar for some years, and I had an amazing teacher. I was worried before every single lesson. About how my play would be. About how i am too late or early, does he like the way i play, do i like it, do i sweat, whatever. I was afraid to go to my lessons and always hoped, he would not show up. But he almost always came, and I never came not, without a good reason(like illness, or something). I am just not the kind of student, who mitchs off. And after every singel lesson, i felt good, like i was able to play gitar, like i was not bad, like i and my skills wher not that worthless.
    He never said “this was amazing, awsome, without any flaws” He told me how to become better, and not that I am already great. He never lied to me. He somtimes asked me, what I thought about myself, and I would always replie, i would have to practise more. He told me what to practise in particular, and in what way I have already increased my skills. I cant explain in that good, but I think, the most important thing is, that you have to make the students confident. He did it.


    1. Thank you so much for the story and feedback! I really like how you said your teacher just told you how to become better. I will remember this when I teach my next lesson.

      1. He is one of the less teachers i concider to be humans. The others seem to be so.. Cyborg like. It feels like the only thing in their lifes is teaching. It is good, if your students think, you are a human beeing. 🙂

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