Interview With Pamela Wedgwood

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 11.59.27Read our interview with Pamela Wedgwood a worldwide renowned Composer….

Nationwide Music Examinations uses a number of popular books by prolific, Surrey-based composer Pam Wedgwood in compiling content for our various syllabuses. In fact, we include pieces from nine of her vast array of almost 200 publications – mainly published by Faber Music.

Pam is an inspiration for teachers and pupils alike and her music has been part of the staple diet for young musicians all over the world for the past twenty years.

Her own 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 16.

After graduating, Pam’s professional career as a French Horn player began with the Royal Ballet Touring Orchestra, leading on to 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.

You’ll find Pam’s ‘REALLY EASY JAZZIN’ ABOUT, ‘IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO PLAY PIANO’, and ‘JAZZIN’ ABOUT’ and lots more, featured among listings in our core syllabus.

We invited Pam to explain what it is that she finds so compelling about arranging notes into a pleasing combination and how she goes about ensuring new tunes appeal to diverse players with a wide range of abilities…

‘Composing is a funny thing. I am never quite sure how it happens,’ said Pam. ‘I tend to produce collections that cover a variety of popular styles.’

‘To be frank, it can be harder to compose music for beginners since clearly one is limited to the number of notes and keys you can utilise. One thing’s for certain though: however basic a piece may appear, it still has to sound convincing and contain a melody folk will want to play.’

‘It can actually be easier, at times, to work at the other end of the spectrum where, as a composer, I can experiment a bit more; with scope to let my imagination run, improvise a bit and introduce chord progressions and so on. Theoretical knowledge obviously helps… but to be honest, composing your own music can be fun – whatever level you have reached.’

‘When it comes to devising a new piece, I can seldom predict  whether it will be a five-minute marvel or take me a number of hours, requiring me to re-work things several times over. I always compose at the piano and start out by improvising around a simple theme.’

‘There must be something in the genes’ says Pam. ‘Both my sons, Olly and Sam, have inherited my love for music and each of them also writes, performs and records music. Olly’s actually a Physics and Chemistry teacher and accomplished jazz musician; Sam is a singer-song-writer and he has toured the world with Jamie Cullum.’



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