Benedict Westenra

writer

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About me

Benedict Westenra

About me

Hi, I’m Benedict Westenra.

I have a musical in development that I wrote the book, music and lyrics for, and which I was invited to play for Stephen Sondheim. You can read about it and listen to some demos below. Plus I write a blog.

I also teach music online. I have over 4,000 students and my courses have an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. You can buy all my courses for 25% off from this site and view free previews on my music education blog.

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About me
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Contact me
contact me
Writing

Writing

I have a musical in development which I wrote the book, music and lyrics to, and which I was invited to play to Stephen Sondheim.

This is the current description:

Writing
synopsis

Rise Up, Fall Over

A serious political drama about spinning too many plates when you probably shouldn’t be spinning plates in the first place because they’re not your plates and I’m not inviting you to dinner again oh God look what you’ve done to my carpet.

Synopsis

Prague, 1848. Jaroslav seems to have accidentally started a revolution. His girlfriend is not happy about this. They argue about it for 90 minutes through the medium of song in a way that’s not anything like as bad as that sounds. (There’s also a subplot involving the Emperor, a marriage proposal, a dead body, a psychotic tailor’s assistant who’s really good at his job, a gay lawyer who isn’t, but not because he’s gay, that would be wrong, some comedy anti-Semitism because that’s what people did in those days, and a suicidal aristocrat who we all like to laugh at because honestly what’s funnier than other people’s pain.)

synopsis
development

Development history

White & Red invite

AUGUST 2014

I received a £15,000 Arts Council grant to develop the show (called “White & Red” at the time). This allowed me to hold 2 workshops with directors Pia Furtado and Tom Attenborough, and have my work performed by actors such as David Burt, Natalie Casey, Trevor Cooper and Amy Lennox.

NOVEMBER 2015

Stephen Sondheim invited me to his house in New York to talk about my show. We’ve stayed in touch ever since.

DECEMBER 2015

Glass Half Full Productions financed a staged reading of the show directed by Adam Lenson, with a cast including Simon Bailey and Katie Bernstein (see poster, left, designed by Rebecca Pitt).

MARCH 2017

I recently held an informal reading of the new script with Sevan K. Greene & Kaisa Hammarlund, among others, and am now rewriting some of the songs with a view to getting the show produced in Spring 2018.

development
blog

Blog

I have a blog where I write occasional articles on music, playwriting, and anything else that feels important at the time.

blog
Composing

Composing

Song demos

2 cut songs from my show, performed by Gunnar Cauthery and Amy Lennox.

Piano arrangements

2 piano arrangements of songs from a very early draft of the show.

Composing
The best piano teacher in London.
It even says so on his website.
Lenny Henry
Teaching

Teaching

I spent a decade testing innovative teaching techniques on individual students, seeing what worked and what didn’t, and am now in the process of releasing my techniques to the wider public. Below you can sign up to any of my courses for 25% off.

Beginner Piano

Beginner Piano

A course for complete beginners – no prior experience required. You don’t even need to know the note names!

“Ok – so who would like to start playing the piano without the hours of frustration learning music theory? I’m one. That’s exactly what Benedict does in this course. … I’m amazed at what I’ve been able to learn and play.”
Greg R

“This course walks you through playing simple songs, but they actually sound like the real thing which gave me a sense of accomplishment and encouraged me to keep playing. I highly recommend this course!”
Helenmary Cody

Read Music FAST!

Learn to see a note on a piano score and play it on the keyboard straight away. My best-selling course.

“WOW! The instructor’s method and exercises meant I was nailing five octaves of note reading in just a day! … Excellent production quality, excellent graphics, clear explanation. … I’d give it ten stars if I could.”
Mark S A Smith

“After the course, I can assure you that you will not be seeing a music sheet the same way again.”
Kathleen Rosario

Read Music FAST!
Read Music FAST!

Read Music FAST! Part 2

Learn how to read notes in context and decipher key signatures.

“His unique method of understanding scales is, by itself, worth the price of the course. Check it out. Definitely one of the best online classes I’ve taken.”
Lynn Kear

“If only every teacher/instructor could make learning this easy for their students.”
Nana Okyere

Note: this is a private course, so you’ll need to enter the password “Tigris” (the name of my cat) to get access.

Piano Chords

Learn to read chord symbols in a visual and intuitive way using real music.

“After buying loads of books on piano chords nothing has come close to this excellent course … it has to be the best on Udemy”
Michael Fallon

“Even if you already know your scales and chords, this course brings you through the variations so that you can do more than just play a triad each and every time.”
Richard

Piano Chords
Piano Chords

Advanced Piano Chords 1

Learn how to interpret 6th, 9th, and 13th chords, as well as augmented and diminished triads, on the circle of 5ths.

The sequel to my top-rated Piano Chords course.

Note: this is a private course, so you’ll need to enter the password “Tigris” (the name of my cat) to get access.

Teaching
musophone

Music education blog

You can see free previews of my courses, as well as other tutorials, on my music education blog, musophone.

musophone
No life worthy of the name consists of anything more than the continual series of struggles to develop one’s character through the medium of whatever one has chosen as a career.
Juan Belmonte

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