Bookjacket Notes

“The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical Self”

In this groundbreaking book, prize-winning pianist and noted educator William Westney explores some important paradoxes about making music. Playing a wrong note can be a perfect event: constructive, useful, even enlightening. Misplaced perfectionism, in contrast, can hamper learning and rob us of the fulfillment and transcendent enjoyment that music can bring.

Drawing on insight, experience, and wisdom ancient and modern, Westney lays out healthy alternatives for lifelong learning and suggests significant change in the way music is taught. Teachers, professionals, and advanced students of any instrument, as well as parents and music lovers of all ages, will find hope and inspiration in this wise teacher’s practical, clear guidance.

Westney’s approach makes eminent sense. Imagine a child’s natural, joyful immersion in the musical moment. Then consider the loss of that spontaneity that too often results from formal music lessons. But this needn’t be the case if we rethink what happens, and what can happen, in the practice room, in performance, and in music lessons.

The energetic creator of the acclaimed Un-Master Class® also looks beyond the individual lesson to the special potential of group work. He outlines the basics of the revelatory workshop that has transformed the music experience for participants the world over. The goal: to bring artistic vitality, self-trust, and confidence within everyone’s reach.

About the author:

Pianist William Westney personifies a rare combination of abilities, having achieved distinction as concert artist, author, and award-winning educator. Winner of numerous performance prizes, most notably the Geneva International Competition, he has concertized on four continents to critical acclaim. Westney’s trailblazing, refreshing performance workshop “The Un-Master Class”® was profiled in a New York Times feature article and has been given at conservatories around the world. His first book The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical Self (2003), an international bestseller, has become a pedagogical classic. Westney holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale University and is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Texas Tech University.

William Westney’s latest book is Eros at the Piano: The Life-Energy of Classical Music (2023).