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The Pizzicato Effect

During the COVID-19 global pandemic The Pizzicato Effect has transitioned from in-person, interactive learning to an entirely online model. Everyone at MSO is incredibly proud of how well the Pizzi team have handled this change, and we’d like to thank them all for their hard work and dedication!


The Pizzicato Effect is the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) flagship community music program working proudly in partnership with the City of Hume, Meadows Primary School, Second Bite and Spectrum. The program provides free string instrumental and musicianship tuition to children living in the City of Hume 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 well-being for participating children.1

In 2016, The Pizzicato Effect transitioned to an after-school 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 2019, the program supports around 70 children from 28 different local schools to pursue their passion for music and build cultural and social bridges within their community.

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

‘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.’
– 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.

Get in Contact

If you have any questions regarding the program, contact our team at schools@mso.com.au, or on 0429 545 289.


The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra thanks the generous supporters of The Pizzicato Effect.

Trusts and Foundations
The Marian & E.H. Flack Trust
Scobie And Claire Mackinnon Trust
Opalgate Foundation

Donors
Lesley McMullin Foundation
Australian Decorative And Fine Arts Society
Heather and David Baxter
Barbara Bell in memory of Elsa Bell
Anonymous
Jenkins Family Foundation
William and Magdalena Leadston
HE McKenzie
Anonymous (18)
Jenny Anderson
Richard and Janet Chauvel
Alex and Liz Furman
Robert and Janet Green
Hilary Hall, in memory of Wilma Collie
Jeanette King
Christopher and Anna Long
Shirley A McKenzie
Margaret Ross AM and Dr Ian Ross
Marjorie McPherson
Joanne Soso
Jenny Tatchell
Xavier College

To find out how you can support The Pizzicato Effect, please call the Philanthropy team on (03) 8646 1551 or email philanthropy@mso.com.au.


The 2020 Pizzicato Effect virtual concerts are presented with support from Hume City Council’s Community Grants program.
City Of Hume logo

This program is proudly supported by MSO Development Partner, Berry Street.
Berry Street logo


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]