The Pizzicato Effect

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What is The Pizzicato Effect?

The Pizzicato Effect is the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) flagship community music program. It provides free string instrumental and musicianship tuition to children living in the City of Hume council region in Victoria, Australia. The program is closely aligned with the principles of El Sistema, the internationally celebrated music program in Venezuela that promotes the benefits of communal music-making to children’s development. Research undertaken by The University of Melbourne (2015) cites The Pizzicato Effect as a proven pathway to enhanced academic performance and social-emotional wellbeing for participating children.1

In 2016, The Pizzicato Effect transitioned from an in-school program delivered in partnership with Meadows Primary School (MPS), Broadmeadows to an afterschool program delivered by the MSO. The Pizzicato Effect is now open to any primary or secondary school-aged child in Grade 3 or above living in the City of Hume. It is completely free of charge for participating families, and caters for both beginners and children who already learn an instrument. In 2016, the program has supported 70 children from 20 different local schools to pursue their passion for music.
The Pizzicato Effect has three clear aims:

  • Social development’;of young people and their communities through musical accomplishments
  • Access to musical instruction, without cost as a barrier to participation
  • Provision of a safe, positive, inspiring, fun and high-aspiring learning environment that promotes engagement with school and community life

What does the community say about The Pizzicato Effect?

‘I feel special being a Pizzi kid. I feel special because you learn new things about other cultures and you can say it in your culture and share it with your friends and family.’
– Beginner student

‘She has improved dramatically. She is able to read, write notes and a lot of other stuff and coming from a sport family, she just blows us out of the water.’
– Parent

‘I get to show people in my class my violin, and I like learning new things. I like helping other people, and showing other people so they can become interested – at Pizzi and outside.’
– Beginner student

‘We are all so very fortunate to that they have this fantastic opportunity to experience from such talented teachers their knowledge and love for music and instruments.’
– Parent

‘The Pizzicato Effect allows children to learn and express themselves in a way that is not pen and paper driven.’ – Dr Margaret Osborne Performance Psychologist & Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Melbourne.

If you have any questions regarding the program, please feel free to contact our team at pizzi@mso.com.au, or on 0429 545 289.

The Pizzicato Effect proudly supported by:
Collier Charitable Fund
The Cuming Bequest
Grant Fisher and Helen Bird
The Marian & EH Flack Trust
James and Rosemary Jacoby
Jenkins Family Foundation
The Scobie And Claire Mackinnon Trust
Helen Macpherson Smith Trust
Kerryn Pratchett
Joan P Robinson
Ivor Ronald Evans Foundation, managed by Equity Trustees Limited and Mr Russell Brown
The Schapper Family Foundation
The Scanlon Foundation
The William Angliss Charitable Fund
Anonymous (4)

To find out how you can support The Pizzicato Effect, please call the Philanthropy team on 03 9626 1551 or email philanthropy@mso.com.au.


1. [Osborne, MS, McPherson, GE, Faulkner, R, Davidson JW & Barret, MS 2015, ‘Exploring the academic and psychosocial impact of El Sistema-inspired music programs within two low socio-economic schools’ Music Education Research, retrieved 14 July 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14613808.2015.1056130]