As a part of our NZSO ENGAGE@Home series, members of the NZSO have created educational videos for children. Lessons range from learning about rhythm to making your own instruments at home.

Interview with young composer Zachary Thirkell (17 June 2020)

Ellen Deverall, Associate Principal Clarinet, records a clarinet trio written by young composer Zachary Thirkell (13).

Sophia Acheson, Education Assistant, speaks with Zachary about what inspires him to write music, after which we get to hear Ellen’s incredible performance of this awesome work.

About the conductor with Eleanor and Mark Carter (28 May 2020)

Eleanor Carter, NZSO cellist, tells us about the conductor and what they do.

Get ready to move your arms as special guest Mark Carter, NZSO Sub Principal Trumpet, shows us how to communicate with the orchestra.

Notating and writing music with Sophia Acheson (12 May 2020)

In this video, Sophia Acheson, NZSO Education Assistant, shows you how to notate and write music. Bring out your papers, markers or coloring pencils and a ruler. We would love to see what you write or draw following this video!

Please send your scores to

Texture and Beethoven's Ode to Joy with Alanna Jones (7 May 2020)


Now that we have examined the main elements of music, melody, rhythm and harmony, what happens when we put them all together?

Alanna Jones, NZSO Double Bassist, shows us how Beethoven used the elements of music to build different musical textures. Listen to how he creates a world of sound in the final movement of his epic 9th Symphony.

Major and Minor with Carolyn Mills (5 May 2020)


Carolyn Mills, NZSO’s Section Principal Harp, plays for us her beautiful blue harp!

Today Carolyn will explore the nature of major and minor in music and then explores these two tonalities in relation to familiar tunes. Listen carefully how dramatically these familiar tunes sound when you shift between major and minor. How does it change the character of the song?

Timbre, articulation and dynamics with Beatrix Francis (30 April 2020) 

This educational video explores timbre, articulation and dynamics. The video is narrated by NZSO Violist Beatrix Francis who is joined by NZSO cellist, Eleanor Carter and NZSO Sub-Principal Trumpet, Mark Carter. Together they demonstrate how the same melody can have a different timbre on different instruments. Beatrix explains different ways to articulate notes then explores the exciting world of dynamics. Be prepared to move about with this video and have your colouring pencils and drawing paper at the ready!

Combining the elements of music with Ellen Deverall (28 April 2020)

This video explores melody. Ellen Deverall, our Associate Principal Clarinet, talks about what happens when you combine all of the elements of music that we have learned so far. From vibrations, meter, rhythm and pitch to create wonderful melodies. Listen how Ellen plays a well-known melody and demonstrates what it sounds like when you change its most basic elements.

The science of pitch with Malcolm Struthers (23 April 2020) 

Have you ever seen a double bass being played in slow motion?

Today NZSO Double Bassist Malcolm Struthers will talk to us about the science of pitch and how we use it to make splendid music. He demonstrates how mathematics is important in understanding pitch and how music would be so boring without it.

Tune in next week to see how Ellen, our Associate Principal Clarinet, takes pitch and turns it into a beautiful melody!

Make your own drum kit with Thomas Guldborg (21 April 2020) 

Fancy yourself as a Rockstar drummer?

Today, Thomas Guldborg, our Associate Principal Percussionist and Assistant Timpanist, breaks down some of the workings of rhythm in music. He explores rhythms on his homemade drum kit and demonstrates how you, too, could build a drum kit at home!

The heartbeat and meter of music with Andrew Thomson (16 April 2020)

Today Andrew Thomson, Principal Second Violin, tells us a story about how pulse and meter came to be, and will play some familiar tunes in different meters. Listen carefully as Andrew demonstrates the pulse. Can you clap along and figure out which meter he is playing?

Next Tuesday we will hear from Thomas Guldborg, our Associate Principal Percussionist. He will be talking about rhythm and will show you how to build your own lockdown drum kit!

Make your own instruments at home with Amy Brookman (14 April 2020)

As a part of our NZSO ENGAGE@Home series, members of the NZSO have been busy creating educational videos for children. This is the first video, featuring Associate Principal Second Violin Amy Brookman, which discusses vibration and sound. 

Watch carefully as Amy shows you a variety of musical instruments your children can make from simple objects found around the home.

We encourage you to post images of any instruments you make in the comments section below, or email them to

Over the coming weeks, this series will continue each Tuesday and Thursday and will cover general music topics.