The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical Self
(Amadeus). In this groundbreaking book, prize-winning pianist and noted educator William Westney helps readers discover their own path to the natural, transcendent fulfillment of making music. Drawing on experience, psychological insight, and wisdom ancient and modern, Westney shows how to trust yourself and set your own musicality free. He offers healthy alternatives for lifelong learning and suggests significant change in the way music is taught. For example, playing a wrong note can be constructive, useful, even enlightening. The creator of the acclaimed Un-Master Class workshop also explores the special potential of group work, outlining the basics of his revelatory workshop that has transformed the music experience for participants the world over. Practicing, in Westney's view, is a lively, honest, adventurous, and spiritually rewarding enterprise, and it can (and should) meet with daily success, which empowers us to grow even more. Teachers, professionals, and students of any instrument will benefit from this unique guide, which brings artistic vitality, freedom, and confidence within everyone's reach.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
If you have taken music lessons for more than a little while, you will recognise part of yourself in this book. Westney describes all the psychological pitfalls that come with classical music study: perfect practice that doesn't translate into perfect performance, feeling the need to please a demanding teacher, doubting your own ability because you imagine that your talent must not be innate, and on and on. He shows that these "traditions" are the unfortunate byproducts of the typical way of teaching classical music, and have persisted for over the past century. Yet Westney believes negativity and a feeling of failure needn't be a necessary part of learning music: it is every human being's ability and right to tap the artist within, and Westney believes he can help you learn how to do that with music. If you're now looking to this book for a foolproof method to help make you the musician you haven't yet been, stop. While Westney offers some good ideas for both students and teachers about how to solve problems in the practice room and in the music studio, he cautions all along that there are no rules to follow. Rather, practice is seen as a process in which, if you listen to your body, it will tell you the things it does not already know how to do, allowing you to focus and learn more productively. Westney argues rather convincingly that music should be seen in some respects as an athletic pursuit; we do have to get the physical part of it right eventually. Yet we can and must learn to do this without shutting off the emotive self that will make our end product the beautiful experience we were probably setting out to create in the first place. If you have not yet started music lessons and are contemplating them for yourself or your child, this book could be an interesting guide to you about the potential trouble spots you should be on the lookout for when choosing a teacher. If you are not very familiar with formal music study, this book may read to you like a lot of hippy feel-good silliness. Parts of it may seem that way, but don't be so dismissive. I dropped out of a music major myself and I know far more people, both within and outside the profession, who are unhappy with the way their study has gone than who think it has been thoroughly enjoyable. Far too often in music, for whatever reason, teachers, parents, and students hold the students to higher standards of perfection than they would in any other subject, and respond to failures with unhealthy displays of disappointment, anger, bitterness, and doubt, especially as students get older and progress in their study. So many people with potential to do well give up altogether. Though we should not all expect to become professionals, neither should we be deprived of the opportunity to enjoy music as a lifelong pastime and means of self-expression because we have succumbed to false notions about overly lofty expectations being perfectly reasonable. Westney calls our bluff on this and beckons us all, teachers and students, back to a happier and healthier way of doing things. The book will be more use to you if you do have some experience as a music student, particularly if you are one of many, like me, who gave up and has regretted it ever since. The many anecdotes in this volume from both professionals and non-professionals serve as good emotional therapy. If you want to start over and do things in a new way, this book will help you forgive yourself for your imperfections and learn to make mistakes in a meaningful way. There is also an interesting postscript for medical professionals about how they can assist musicians with performance-related injuries. This book thus might also be of interest to those in the medical practice.
Review: The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical SelfUser Review - Nancy - Goodreads
An extremely helpful book for pianists, especially those who have lost their love for music in perfectionism. Very helpful for restoring joy to practicing. Read full review
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Music Magic and Childhood
Step by Step A Guide to Healthy Practicing
Is It Good to Be a Good Student?
Out of Control The Drama of Performing
Lessons and UnLessons
The UnMaster Class Rethinking a Tradition