Pam Wedgwood is recognised around the world as one of Britain’s most successful composers of popular repertoire for young instrumentalists, and as such has a busy workshop schedule. May sees Pam on a two-week tour of Australia (3–17 May 2004) covering Perth, Newcastle, Cairns, Brisbane, Adelaide, Townsville and Tasmania.
With over 30 years’ experience as teacher and composer, Pam is often called upon by teachers for advice on how best to motivate young pupils. ‘I have always found that the best way to maintain a pupil’s interest is to ensure everything they do is fun. This can be achieved in many ways – through the setting of achievable tasks and rewards, mini concerts at the end of term, marks out of ten for each performance, practice charts and competitions. Allowing them to play pieces just for fun is also essential’.
But what about the less ‘fun’ elements of scales, sight-reading, aural and theory? "The best way to tackle these elements is holistically, rather than separately. Scales, sight-reading, theory and aural can be incorporated into the learning of each new piece – in this way, pupils don’t even realise that they are doing it, and the process becomes much more integral".
It is this pupil-centred approach to teaching that is evident throughout Pam’s extensive list of publications. "I began writing my own pieces when I found that what young players like most are fun, catchy melodies that aren’t too complicated – and there just weren’t enough books of such repertoire on the market". And so the first volume of Jazzin’ About was born.
It’s not just younger pupils to whom Pam’s publications appeal, either. With thousands of adult beginners learning from It’s Never too Late to Play Piano and the recent success of After Hours, it seems that the combination of imaginative, approachable repertoire at the appropriate level is a winning formula.