I'm certain you've been in this situation: A student plays a piece, and you throw out a compliment because, well, you're a positive person. "That was good." That's not too bad, right? Certainly better then saying nothing. Yet, a rung up on the ladder of positive feedback might be,"I liked that." Why does that work better? Because it always feels better when someone shares how they felt about what you did.. Yet there's still a higher rung on the ladder, the validation. A validation is the most powerful way to provide lasting feedback to your students. What does a validation sound like? "When you played it that way, I felt goosebumps because of the way you used the dynamics." Can you feel the difference? Praising or complimenting are certainly better then nothing, but they often sound judgmental "That was GOOD." Validations verify how you felt about something specific and valuable in the student's performance.
you need to be specific about how you feel about that behavior or result.
Compliment's can also be a bit of a throwaway. They tend to be lazy on the part of the complimenter. They don't really provide any information of what you want replicated and often can be perceived as judgmental. A validation, on the other hand, tells the person who is being validated, how you felt about something specific that they did.
Try this small phrase change with your students and family this week and let me know how things go.
As always, focus on what you want.