The day I met a maestro
I must have been aged 10 when I met Johnny Pearson, the composer of theme tunes for programmes such as All Creatures Great and Small, Superstars, Captain Pugwash and ITV's News at Ten, writes Anthony Anderson.
I was barely started on my journey into music when he gave up his time to meet me at his home and listen to my faltering piano, after being sweetly badgered by my great aunt (his neighbour). I was staggered when he played a Bach invention from memory and talked to me about the importance of practice.
Johnny was just one of many people who have inspired me on my musical journey. Most have not been famous, but all have been dedicated, believed in the power of music and were willing to help me to learn. Now I use their work and compositions to inspire my pupils.
One of Johnny's most haunting themes is Sleepy Shores (the theme to Owen MD) and it is a great piece to use as a model in composition teaching. The simple piano texture demonstrates the effective use of sequence, modulation, ornaments such as the appoggiatura and structure, along with harmony, particularly in the coda. Students can consider how the melody works by examining its contour and use of carefully chosen intervals and conjunct movement.
For more on the musical journeys of famous performers, teachers, researchers and students, see Musical Pathways, the latest publication from the National Association of Music Educators, which includes thoughtful starting points for music teaching. (http:bit.lyyP4XfK).
Watch Johnny Pearson performing Sleepy Shores on Top of the Pops in a YouTube video. Or introduce students to some of the great composers of the big screen with zoage's PowerPoint presentation.