Lectures and Workshops

Formats for William Westney’s presentations are flexible, and have ranged from 45-minute lecture/demonstrations to multi-day residencies, often including solo performances and “Un-Master Classes.”

Workshops and keynote addresses are also available for organizations outside the musical field.


How Can a Wrong Note Be Perfect? (lecture/demonstration)
Is perfectionism healthy or not?  Should we avoid mistakes or embrace them? Does the computer model (“always make sure to input accurate data”) make sense for us? Or are we athletes of a kind, training our bodies to perform special skills, and thus needing to welcome honest mistakes in order to succeed? This presentation – inspiring, candid, sensible – questions much of the “conventional wisdom” about music lessons, and has been enthusiastically received at conventions and meetings across the U.S. and in Europe and Asia.  For music teachers/students.

The Perfect Wrong Note II
A hands-on problem-solving session for pianists and other performers, using the principles of Session I.

“Experience and Inquiry: A Musical Journey” lecture at University of Southern Denmark, 2009

Trusting The Musical Impulse (workshop)
An expanded workshop of experiential techniques. All activities explore ways for participants to reconnect to their playful, responsive, and vital musical “self.” Typical components are expressive body movement, group improvisation games, active listening using art materials, creative dramatics, call and response, rediscovering one’s instrument (or voice). For any group of musicians, teachers, or students. If desired, performances by participants can be integrated into the group work.

For a listing of other Music Pedagogy topics, please contact William Westney directly.


Juicy Mistakes: How To Invite Breakthroughs In Learning, Life, And Art (lecture/demonstration)
Adaptable to any group, this presentation shows how natural and empowering it is to exercise a healthy, objective curiosity about our honest mistakes, while escaping self-judgment and the frustrations caused by inappropriate perfectionism. Examples at the piano.

The Musical Impulse in Photography (workshop)
Equally applicable to other creative and design-related fields. Awakening the body’s musical responses, and sharing them through structured group activities, adds an enriching new dimension to one’s sense of texture, rhythm, line, and other universal elements.


(1) The Perfect Wrong Note: The often surprising skills and insights musical performers have learned, and how to apply them to any pursuit of excellence (lecture/demonstration, keynote)

Description: Delivered with a grand piano on the podium, this candid and intriguing message mixes common sense with inspiration. Frequent examples at the piano reveal how concert performers REALLY deal with issues like wrong notes, mastery, communication, self-honesty, and keeping creativity fresh. The principles apply to any profession or field of endeavor. Includes performances of short piano masterworks (Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Liszt), which add artistic depth and entertainment value to the event.

(2) Good Vibrations: Trusting the Musical Impulse (hands-on workshop)

Description: We enliven teamwork and creativity by tapping into the natural, liberating energy of music. Through a variety of activities, designed to be comfortable and refreshing, participants reconnect with their playful, responsive and vital musical “self.” They experience a physical sort of understanding. Even more important, they sense the connection with others. Absolutely no special skill or background required! Activities include expressive body movement, group improvisation games, active listening using art materials, creative dramatics, call and response.


  1. joyful bonding with others in the group; mutual trust
  2. body/mind integration stimulates creativity, artistry (in design-related fields)
  3. deeper listening; greater empathy – not only to music but to word and gesture
  4. more confident, communicative presentation skills
  5. sense of liberation and possibility


“A wonderful lecture – energizing and entertaining” . . . “always original” . . . “wondrous”

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Click here for a list of William Westney’s prior lectures