Eros at the Piano:
The Life-Energy of Classical Music
August 1, 2023 (anticipated) publication by Rowman & Littlefield.
“Bold and insightful.” —Anthony Tommasini, former chief classical music critic, The New York Times
A new book by William Westney, author of the bestselling The Perfect Wrong Note, takes a fresh and creative look at the human dimension of classical music-making and why it matters more than ever in the contemporary world.
Eros at the Piano takes readers on a remarkable journey, combining intellectual vigor with down-to-earth wisdom for performers, teachers, and students. Using a conversational tone and rich with cross-disciplinary insight, Westney weaves together the philosophical concept of Eros with the art and practice of classical musicians. Why Eros? Eros was the ancient Greek god not only of love and sensuality but of all human creativity and interconnectedness, symbolizing a great realm of feeling and of wordless understanding.
The Perfect Wrong Note:
Learning to Trust Your Musical Self
In November 2003, Amadeus Press released William Westney’s first book, THE PERFECT WRONG NOTE: LEARNING TO TRUST YOUR MUSICAL SELF. The culmination of 15 years of work, it outlines his unique views on vitality and liberation through music. Its perspective on perfectionism is enlightening, down-to-earth, and applicable to a wide readership – musicians and non-musicians alike.
Currently in its second printing in softcover, in addition to the Kindle edition, the book has sold over 50,000 copies worldwide. The Japanese edition (2015) is now in its third printing. For the book’s unique impact on the field of music teaching, Westney was the recipient in 2012 of the “Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award” given by Music Teachers National Association.
Pre-publication response was strongly positive: “the work of a master teacher” (Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain); “immensely inspiring, thought provoking, and fascinating,” (Paul Sheftel, faculty, Juilliard School of Music); “This book has the potential to change lives” (Dee Coulter, faculty, Naropa University)
Enthusiastic reviews from around the world are echoing that assessment (almost every writer uses the word “refreshing” at some point): “rewarding and refreshing” (American Record Guide): “an absolute joy to read” (The Piano Professional – U.K.); “comprehensive, provocative, full of great advice” (Bass World – International Society of Bassists); “controversial, amusing, highly informative” (Pianist magazine – U.K.); “elegant, sensitive, and openhearted – Read this book!” (American Dalcroze Journal)
Research report in photo-essay in book form (November 2010): – Music, Movement, Performance & Perception: Perspectives on Cross-Disciplinary Research and Teaching within NNIMIPA (Nordic Network for the Integration of Music Informatics, Performance and Aesthetics).
An essay in words and pictures recounting the NordPlus-sponsored Coordination Meeting for NNIMIPA held at the University of Oslo, February 18-19, 2010. Text: Cynthia M. Grund and William Westney. Photography: Cynthia M. Grund. Online version available HERE.
Selected Studies, op. 45 and 46 by Stephen Heller
(with CD recording) 2005. Schirmer “Performance Editions” (Hal Leonard Publications)
Etudes, op. 109 by Friedrich Burgmüller (with CD recording) 2009. Schirmer “Performance Editions” (Hal Leonard Publications).
Review in Clavier Companion July/August 2011: (after opening link, click to enlarge text)
Selected Lyric Pieces by Edvard Grieg (with CD recording) 2013. Schirmer “Performance Editions” (Hal Leonard Publications).
Grund, C. M. and Westney, W. “Narrative and Music: A Flexible Partnership on the Performing Stage and in the Rehearsal Studio.”
Working with Stories. Narrative as a Meeting Place for Theory, Analysis and Practice: Proceedings from the 2nd ENN Conference, Kolding (Denmark) 2011, pp. 78-92. Publisher: European Narratology Network (ENN) | www.narratology.net. Collected by Per Krogh Hansen, Chairman of the ENN.
W. Westney. “Tacit Knowing at the Piano Bench.”
From Polanyi to the 21st Century. Annual meeting of The Polanyi Society, Kent State University, Ohio, 1991.
Mothering: May/June 2004: “Juicy Mistakes”
SELECTED JOURNAL ARTICLES
Brain and Cognition, July 2017, 115:47-55 . “Mirror neuron activation of musicians and non-musicians in response to motion captured piano performances,” Co-authors Hou, Rajmohan, Fang, Kahfi, Al-Khalil, Yang, Grund, O’Boyle
Music Teachers National Association E-Journal, April 2016. “The Pedagogical Value of ‘Enjoyment’ in the Classical Piano Studio,” Co-authors Grund, O’Boyle, Yang, Cloutier, Fang, Hou, Latimer
SIGNATA, Annals of Semiotics, University of Liège, Belgium, 2015. “Musical Embodiment and Perception: Performances, Avatars and Audiences,” Co-authors Grund, O’Boyle, Yang, Cloutier, Fang, Hou, Latimer
American Music Teacher: June/July 2005. “Essential Skills: Risks and Rewards” (winner, Article of the Year)
American Music Teacher: Dec./Jan 2003-4. “Out of Control? The Fulfilling Drama of Performing”
American Music Teacher: Aug./Sept. 1999. “Let’s Re-think our Contest-Judging Criteria”
Piano Life: March 1998. “If Piano Lessons are to Survive . . .”
American Music Teacher: Feb./March 1997. “What’s Right about Wrong Notes?”
Piano Life: April 1997. “The Un-Master Class – What is it?”
Keyboard Companion: Spring 1994 Column “You and Your Piano”; topic: “Does Piano Study Help Children in Other Aspects of School Study?”; Winter 1996 Column “Home Practice”; topic: “I played it well at home – why not here?”
Clavier: April 1993 Lead Article – “Why Piano Lessons Matter”; Jan. 1980. Article – “Pianistic Bravura – Can it be Taught?”