Table of Contents


Table of Contents


1) Music, Magic, And Childhood
The effect of lessons. Toddlers, Martians, and Einstein.
Musicality, Creativity and Cognition. A Precious Resource.

2) Vitality
Judgments and Competition. Which Skills? Lessons and Traditions.
Vitality in the Practice Room.

3) Juicy Mistakes
Two Types of Mistakes. Mistakes as Teachers. Suppression and Denial.
Chaos. Mindfulness.

4) Step By Step: A Guide to Healthy Practicing
What is Healthy Practicing? Commentary on the Steps.
To sum up. “FAQ” (Frequently Asked Questions) about Practicing.

5) Breakthroughs
Spatial Relationships. Hidden Truths. Alike but different. Physiology.
Negative Space. Artistry.

6) Is It Good To Be A “Good Student”?
The Good Student Syndrome. The Good Student in the Music Studio.
Sight-Reading and its Dangers.

7) Out Of Control: The Drama Of Performing
The Ego in Crisis. Nerves. Expansiveness.

8) Lessons and Un-lessons
Turn the Project Upside Down. Remove the Goal.
Try the (Seemingly) Impossible. Brainstorm the Possibilities.
Be a Student Yourself. What is a Lesson Anyway?

9) The “Un-Master Class”: Rethinking A Tradition
The Master Class. “The Artist Within” – a Workshop and its Legacy.
The “Un-Master Class.”

10) Adventurous Amateurs
Advantages of Maturity. Grown-Up Practicing.
Other Musical Pleasures.

11) Beyond The Music Room
Alchemy. A New Kind of Information.

Postscript: A Word to Health Professionals

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).