Chimaera| Proto| Feral

This chimaera was born on May Day 1995 to combine the work of Jeni Little and Nigel Brookes.


John Psathas Learning Centre

Use this collection of links and videos to teach you and your students about John Psathas and his music.


Free Worksheets

Download free PDF worksheets to print for your class - to use with the Learning Guide to Three Psalms, View From Olympus, and Omnifenix.


Free Lesson

Use this free web-based lesson to teach you and your students about the traditional drum dance from the Cook Islands.


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1. (Chimera) (in Greek mythology) a fire-breathing female monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail.
2. A thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.
3. An organism containing a mixture of genetically different tissues, formed by processes such as fusion of early embryos, grafting, or mutation.
4. A cartilaginous marine fish with a long tail, an erect spine before the first dorsal fin, and typically a forward projection from the snout.
ORIGIN: Late Middle English via Latin from Greek khimaira "she-goat or chimera."

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Learning Guides

Each learning guide covers a complete musical knowledge topic intended for year 11-13 students (New Zealand NCEA levels 1-3). The guides are also being used beyond year 13 (tertiary). They can be used as part of an NCEA course, a unit standards course, Sixth Form Certificate or Bursary, or adapted to other learning situations.

They are comprised of comprehensive background, analysis and musical examples, with extensive references to currently available CD's, scores, and other resources. They all come complete with a set of ready-to-use learning activities - both stand-alone and modular - that can be added or subtracted from any course at the teacher's discretion.

As well as the general reader, these guides have been created for every music teacher who wants to provide an in-depth and well-researched music course, but simply doesn't have the time to locate the information.

Learning Guides are available in PDF format.

John Psathas

A Learning Guide to Three Psalms, View From Olympus, and Omnifenix

ISBN 978-0-473-13866-0
A4 - 112 pages

PDF - $NZ35.00

The NZSO recorded these concerti in 2005 with conductor Marc Taddei and soloists Michael Houstoun, piano, and Pedro Carneiro, percussion. The CD/DVD of these exciting works shot to number one on the classical charts immediately on launching in September 2006, and remained the number one classical selling album in New Zealand practically uninterrupted for five months. It won a "Best Classical Album" Tui award at the 42nd Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards in 2007.

Now you can teach these exciting works in your classroom. This Learning Guide contains:

Recordings of "Three Psalms", "View From Olympus", and "Omnifenix" are available on CD, together with the "Making View From Olympus" DVD (Rattle RAT-DV015), available from the Rattle section of

Teacher and student scores of “Three Psalms”, "View From Olympus", and "Omnifenix" are available from Promethean Editions


John Psathas

A Learning Guide to Drum Dances and Abhisheka

ISBN 0-473-08424-4
A4 - 97 pages

PDF - $NZ35.00

John PsathasThe music of John Psathas both excites and ignites his listeners. His music is regularly commissioned and performed internationally by some of the world's leading classical/jazz/rock musicians, and he is continually pushing the boundaries of composition and performance technique. To critical acclaim, his 'Concerto for Saxophone' was premiered in Bologna, Italy in 2001 by the Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Emilia-Romagna 'Toscanini', where the saxophone solo was played by seven-time Grammy winning saxophonist Michael Brecker (see photo). His 'Double Concerto for Percussion, Piano and Orchestra' will be premiered by Evelyn Glennie, Philip Smith, and the Halle Orchestra in July 2002 at the Royal Gala Finale concert of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, to a global audience of millions. This guide however, focuses on two of John Psathas' other works - 'Drum Dances' (Drum kit and Piano) and 'Abhisheka' (String Quartet). In addition to detailed musical analyses of both works, this learning guide is centered on an in depth interview with the composer, and a broad background to his musical world (including web links), together giving unique insight into both his music and the creative process of making it. The Learning Guide is supported by superb recordings of the works on John Psathas' debut CD - 'Rhythm Spike' - winner of the classical award at the New Zealand Music Awards 2000. Both teacher and student scores of the works are also available. It's time for everyone to see what a treasure this composer is.

Recordings of 'Abhisheka' and 'Drum Dances' are available on the CD 'Rhythm Spike' (Rattle RAT-D008), available from the Rattle section of

Teacher and student scores of 'Abhisheka' and 'Drum Dances' are available from Promethean Editions


Gareth Farr

A Learning Guide to Kembang Suling and Volume Pig

ISBN 0-473-08423-6
A4 - 61 pages

PDF - $NZ35.00

Gareth FarrOver the last decade, Gareth Farr has steadily produced a large and consistently engaging body of work. Mirroring his flamboyant personality, his music is both immediate and exhilarating, and has become unbelievably popular with audiences young and old. His music has often been influenced by musical systems from other cultures and genres. For example, 'Kembang Suling' - the first of the works explored in this learning guide - takes its name and musical basis from Indonesian Gamelan. Combining flute and marimba in a subtle and carefully sculpted interplay, this work exhibits a high degree of compositional skill. The CD recording of this work is ideally suited for classroom study. In addition, this guide explores the vibrant New Zealand percussion group STRIKE. They have recorded Gareth Farr's 'Volume Pig' on their debut CD, and this work is also analysed in detail. The guide also contains extensive supporting web links. Scores of both works are available.

Recordings and scores of 'Kembang Suling' and 'Volume Pig' are available from Promethean Editions


Nga Pu Toru

Musical Treasures from the Cook Islands

ISBN 0-473-07246-7
A4 - 58 pages + MP3's

PDF/MP3 - $NZ35.00

Cook Islands This unique learning guide is the result of original field research by Jeni Little in 1988, when she performed a detailed survey of both the existing and historical music of the Southern Cook Islands, in particular the islands of Atiu, Mauke, and Mitiaro - collectively known as Nga Pu Toru. The book explores the Cook Islanders' diverse musical treasures - from the ancient chants, to the more modern songs and the popular drum dance - together with comprehensive background information. The book focuses on an exploration of the 1820's missionary-influenced Imene Tuki and includes a CD/MP3's of unique field recordings, transcribed scores, and a student workbook packed with stimulating learning activities.


From Scratch

A Learning Guide to Pacific 3 2 1 Zero (Parts 1 and 2) and Global Hockets

ISBN 0-473-07249-1
A4 - 74 pages

PDF - $NZ35.00

From ScratchFrom Scratch's roots lie deep in the heart of sound and art experimentation. Phil Dadson - From Scratch founder and co-author of this learning guide - originally performed with the UK-based Scratch Orchestra in the late 1960's, with seminal musical experimentalist Cornelius Cardew (student of Karlheinz Stockhausen) and others. On returning to New Zealand, he formed a local version of the Scratch Orchestra, which soon became From Scratch, now well known for their PVC pipe and jandal percussion. They are perhaps also known for the brave political stance of their work 'Pacific 3 2 1 Zero Part 1', which they performed at the Paris Biennale in 1981, when the French Pacific nuclear testing programme was in full swing. This work was followed up by 'Pacific 3 2 1 Zero Part 2', a more ambitious and elaborate work, yet one that still retains simplicity and focus. In 1998, in collaboration with the German computer artists Supreme Particles, From Scratch's work 'Global Hockets' was the opening night highlight for possibly the world's best annual digital arts festival - Ars Electronica. As the name suggests, the rich interplay of sound and vision in this work is a 'hocket' of simple parts, which together create a more complex whole. All three of these works are examined in detail in this learning guide. It is richly illustrated with many photographs and score fragments from Phil’s extensive archive, complimenting the CD’s and videos of the works also available. This guide may also be used within the Art curriculum.

CD's of 'Pacific 3 2 1 Zero Parts 1 & 2' and 'Global Hockets' are available from Dadsonic



A Learning Guide to the CD

ISBN 0-473-08248-9
A4 - 79 pages

PDF - $NZ35.00

BaxterThe Baxter CD records a uniquely New Zealand musical project, in which 12 of James K Baxter's classic poems were interpreted by some of the country's finest musicians, including Dave Dobbyn, Greg Johnson, Jordan Reyne, David Downes and Gareth Farr. Well-known poets David Eggleton and Sam Hunt featured as collaborators. The project was conceived and guided by Charlotte Yates, and the CD became the inaugural release on National Radio's own label. Jeni Little was invited to write this learning guide to support the Baxter CD in the classroom. The guide explores in detail the diverse approaches to the musical interpretations found on the CD. In addition to extensive background material (including web links) and detailed musical analyses, there are interviews with most of the artists involved. Of course, completing the guide are a broad range of stimulating learning activities. This guide may also be used within the English curriculum.

The Baxter CD is available from Smoke CD's


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