The Pizzicato Effect

The Pizzicato Effect is a partnership between the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Meadows Primary School in Broadmeadows which provides access to quality music education for students aged four and above. Now in its sixth year, the program occupies a key place in the lives of its students – connecting them with musicians and arts-based organisations both locally and around the world.

Inspired by the El Sistema model of music education, students commence specialist music training at an early age, before progressing to lessons on violin, viola, cello or double bass. Learning is conducted by MSO teaching artists in group lessons where children are encouraged to work, respond, and play together in a vibrant and collaborative environment. For the older students, these classes are complemented by lunchtime ‘practice clubs’ and a bi-weekly after school program which provide an opportunity for students to further their instrumental skills.

Over the course of their involvement, the children develop a strong relationship with their MSO mentors, their instrument, and their peers. The University of Melbourne’s recent research into the developmental assets, social-emotional wellbeing and educational impact of The Pizzicato Effect shows enhanced academic performance and total well-being for participating students.

Special performance opportunities have been provided to participating students including performances at the City of Hume Social Justice Conference, the Australia Council for Education Research Conference, at Iwaki Auditorium, at the Melbourne Town Hall, and for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during their visit in 2012. The project has also recently afforded students the opportunity to work directly with the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, Diego Matheuz, and superstar violinists Ray Chen and Nicola Benedetti.

Through the generous donations of supporters, the program remains completely free of charge to its participants. The MSO provides all instruments, and weekly instrumental and aural lessons lead by a team of MSO teaching artists, and the option for children, families and teachers to access MSO concerts. On the basis of the extraordinary motivation now being experienced by students, further support is currently being sought to ensure the project – and its potential for these students and others – is realised into the future.

“This program is affording our children so many valuable opportunities, and the transformation in the children and their confidence across all areas of learning and social interaction is without doubt. Yet the single most important achievement and benefit of the initiative, from my perspective, is that The Pizzicato Effect is helping our children take pride in who they are.” – Julie Cooke, Meadows Primary School principal

To find out how you can contribute to The Pizzicato Effect, please call Ben Lee, Philanthropy Executive on (03) 9626 1248.

Click Here to make a donation to Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.