Wendy Edwards Beardall-Norton
Wendy Edwards Beardall-Norton was born in Toronto, Ontario, and raised in Hamilton. She had her first piano lessons at the age of 5 in Orillia, where she spent every summer during her childhood. Her teacher was Percival Horn. Wendy again studied piano at Loretto Academy in Hamilton, and later attended Westdale Collegiate, where she was fortunate to have an in-depth education in music theory and clarinet performance, along with her academic studies, over a period of five years. Dance and vocal study were also a major part of her musical development.
Following her marriage, and the birth of her three sons, Gregory, Cameron and Jeffrey, in Weston, Ontario, music study was put on hold, aside from the purchase of a 'Stella' acoustic guitar, which eventually led to all three sons becoming excellent, performing guitarists! On the family's relocation to Fredericton, New Brunswick, Wendy resumed both piano and theory teaching and study, mainly with the late Mary MacLean, from whom she learned a great deal about teaching, and from the late Janis Kalnins, former conductor of the Riga Opera Orchestra in Latvia.
While living in Fredericton, Wendy was twice President of the Fredericton Music Teachers' Association, and a Founding Member and President of the Fredericton Music Society. After her first husband, Alan's, death in 1999,
she continued her successful and fulfilling piano and theory teaching and was proud to see her students achieve both academic excellence at the highest levels and also to attain a lasting love and appreciation of music of all genres. In 2014, Wendy married Christopher Norton, and, with him has created, developed and taught his Micromusical program throughout many parts of the world. They are contracted by several schools in London, UK, to teach the Micromusicals on a three time a year basis, which takes them back to the UK regularly. Though Wendy has been composing sporadically over the years, it is with Christopher Norton's encouragement that she has returned to this endeavour, and has released her first published collection "Take It From Me" and "Take It From Me Again" of 24 intermediate piano solos.Wendy and Christopher, after four years in London, UK, now reside in the lovely Stratford, Ontario, Canada.
How would you describe yourself?
Human, Loving, Kind, Exacting, Open… With all of the inherent foibles!
What makes you smile?
Quirky jokes, with a twist; Children; My Husband; My Sons/Grandkids; Music; Art; Natural Beauty
What scares you?
Anything that threatens my Family or Friends; personal ill-health that would limit or confine me. I’m a fairly ‘brave’ person otherwise.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
I’m an avid reader – love history, biography, as well as a well-written novel; Travel to new lands; Time with my Husband, Family and Friends.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
Anything involving singing, dancing, playing piano or a musical instrument in ensemble. Loved playing all sports, and was good at most so maybe a semi pro athlete?; OR an Archaeologist!
Are you a bathroom singer?
I sing (to EVERYONE’S chagrin) EVERYWHERE! My voice is not as “dependable” as it once was J
What type of music do you like to play the most?
Depends on the moment – I love Celtic music, and many other forms of ethnic styles; Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Greig, Canadian Composers (there are too many to name who are wonderful), I love to find new works by Composers from Every and Any where), Christopher Norton (I’ll NEVER be able to get to the end of his Compositional works). Even he couldn’t begin to name all of the works he’s Composed. I like his lyrical, soulful styles, as well as his very challenging rhythmic compositions, and his Jazzy styles and Latin beats are inspired! He also writes for choral groups and vocal soloists, as well as all instruments, and ensembles. He is my musical mentor. I am astounded by his talent. Fortunately, he abides my lesser talent and lets me stumble around in my own compositional styles without much more than an encouraging word!
What type of music do you like to write the most?
Much of my work is based on lyrical styles because, basically, I’m a poet and a singer, so most of my music has singable phrases.
My favourite of your compositions are Listen to the Falling Rain and On A String. What is your process as a composer?
I’m very much an aural composer – I have to find my style on the keyboard, and my lyrical phrase, before I begin to write out the score. As I go, I realize the direction and the flavour of the music and that suggests a title. When I have written the score and checked it over thoroughly for any amendments or additions, added dynamics, pedal markings, and expression directions, and am satisfied with all of my harmonic progressions, etc., Chris very kindly plays it into Sibelius (he is sooo much faster than I am!) Last step is to print out the score. I review it from time to time over the next day or two, to make sure it stands exactly as I intended, and then I try not to go over it again. Like visual art, a piece of music can be re-touched so often that it loses its initial freshness and spontaneity.
Which of your compositions has been the most popular that has surprised you, and why?
The two you mentioned have been popular. Personal comments from friends and family and audience after recitals would also suggest that everyone has a favourite. A lot of people enjoy ‘Think of Me’, and ‘Carousel, Waltz’ and ‘Hallowe’en’, from my first book, ‘Take it from ‘Me’, which was released last year and only had a few months on the market before Covid 19 became a factor in everyone’s life. My Second book, ‘Take it from Me …….Again’, was just released in July, 2020, so time will tell
What is your superpower?
I can jump tall buildings in a single bound! (Oops – that’s not me) I think I have an instinct for what looks and sounds good. Arranging colours, furniture, gardens, etc. My eye and my ear speak very loudly. My Mother tells the (somewhat apocryphal, I’m sure) story of me as an under two year old, in my play-pen at the front of the house (we did that to babies in those days). A woman passing by came and knocked on our door and in a shocked voice said, ‘Did you know your little girl is humming ‘Minuet in G?’ My Mother wasn’t surprised – nor was she when I would put my hands over my ears if a singer on the radio was slightly off-key, and yell until she was finished singing. This before I could effectively talk. So this instinct for perfection in music and visual expression was always there. I probably would be diagnosed as ‘On the Spectrum’ in this ‘categorization age’
Are you doing today what you dreamed of when you were younger?
Music will, to my dying day, be an intimate part of my life. Creating music IS SUCH A PRIVILEGE! The answer is YES!!!
What advice do you have for someone who wants a career like yours (or hopes to!)?
FOLLOW YOUR HEART This was my advice to my youngest son, when, in his last year of University, his band was offered a music contract, which would mean not completing his last year (only a month or two to go to Grad.) and moving to Toronto. – He did go, and has never looked back! The second most important piece of advice is to be single-minded in your interests. This does not make for a good anything. You must know as much as possible about music, yes, but there is also a great big world out there and you need to know as much about it and its people as possible. You then always have a deep well of knowledge that you can draw on. The best piece of advice, which might not apply to others, is MARRY A PROLIFIC AND WELL-CONNECTED COMPOSER/MUSICIAN/EDUCATOR!
What would you like to be remembered for?
KINDNESS and for giving others confidence in their ability to know that their lives matter.