Pam Wedgwood

Composer

Author

About

Born in 1947, Pam’s musical career began with the recorder and piano, and Tenor Horn and Euphonium through the brass band tradition at her school. She then took up the Cello and French Horn, entering Trinity College of Music in London to study Piano, Horn, Cello and composition at the age of sixteen.

After graduating she began a career as a professional French Horn player, working with the Royal Ballet Touring Orchestra, The Royal Opera, the BBC Concert Orchestra and many West End shows. Marriage and a young family led her to take up an appointment as a peripatetic instrumental music teacher in Surrey in the late 1970s, and she began composing pieces for her pupils.

In 1988 her long association with Faber Music began with the publication of Jazzin’ About, a series that now numbers over 30 books and has featured on many an examination syllabus. Since then her output has grown to over 200 books including the successful Up-Grade! and After Hours instrumental series, the recorder method RecorderWorld and the adult piano method It’s Never Too Late to Play Piano. In the UK she has led many workshops for the European Piano Teachers’ Association and has inspired teachers in workshops as far afield as Singapore and Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. Pam now concentrates on composing and teaching, though she is also a keen sportswoman and international traveller!

Sheets

Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

Music has been in my blood for a very long time. From the minute I started playing the recorder age 7 to this present time at 71! I have been lucky enough to have been given this gift of composition. It’s a fantastic life skill which I hope will continue until I am no more – in fact de-composed!!

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

I believe music is about a great number of things, which would take too long to discuss in this article. Fantasy is just a single but important contribution when listening to or composing music.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

I was always really good at anything sporty so this was one of my options as a young person. I also love caring for others and would probably have gone down the medical care route. I am very glad that I chose a career in music.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

I would disagree with this comment, although as you become older the need for something soothing and easy to listen to becomes more apparent. In my experience there are a great number of younger people who are really interested in many different genres and are willing to spend time with classical sounding music. The popularity of film scores written by amazing composers have helped to stimulate people of all ages.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

There is definitely a new face emerging on the classical scene. It’s becoming a much more relaxed environment and through today’s technology is beginning to reach people of all ages.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

The classical performer today needs to make sure they are conveying a feeling of inclusion with the audience. I have often been to a classical recital where the soloist has not tried to engage any rapport with the audience. This leads to a cold atmosphere where the listener has to come to their own conclusion about the soloist and the music. Also a little humour can go a long way! Sometimes the audience needs a helping hand!

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to classical music concerts? How would you do this?

What about using visual images as a way forwards? There is nothing better than music playing to a silent backdrop of images relating to the music. I would also suggest that concert halls provide push back seats. If you want to have a real relax, GO FOR IT and have a lie down!

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

I sort of have a creative process. It’s called sitting at the piano and doodling around until I reach a satisfactory theme or idea. My favourite pieces are in my latest book "Piano gallery”. I love art works so I looked at a number of pictures and created a piece to fit my favourites-a complete joy. My other love is writing for full orchestra. I have written several pieces that the National Children's Orchestra of Great Britain have performed.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

The parents need to encourage their youngsters to get involved. Learning to play an orchestral instrument usually connects it all together. Do you think about the audience when composing? People like to hear a melody that they can identify with. This is what I try to write. I suppose I am a sort of tune-smith!

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

My newest project “How to Play Jazz Piano” is to be published this September. It’s been the most difficult book I have tried to write! It’s an introduction to jazz for young pianists and I’ve tried to make it fun and simple while covering improvisation, swing rhythm, jazz scales and modes. Plus, there are a good few pieces in different styles for them to have a go at. Yes I do experiment in my writing.

Pam Wedgwood’s “Piano Gallery” is available to buy now, published by Faber Music:

http://www.fabermusicstore.com/Piano-Gallery-0571540481.aspx

“How to Play Jazz Piano” will be available this September, published by Faber Music.