The Pizzicato Effect

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 2018, the program supports 70 children from 20 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, 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
Hume City Council
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)

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra thanks all its generous Education Benefactors, Patrons and Supporters. The Pizzicato Effect is supported in 2016 by:
Jenny Anderson
V Awburn
Heather and David Baxter
Janet Bell
Margaret Bolhak
Leith Brooke
Joe Cordone
The Cuming Bequest
Miss Ann Darby, in memory of Leslie J Darby
Louise Caroline Davies
Sandra Dent
Jane Edmanson OAM
Tim and Lyn Edward
Kay Ehrenberg
Eric Ellram
Supported by the Ivor Ronald Evans Foundation
Grant Fisher and Helen Bird
The Marian and E.H. Flack Trust
Mary and Don Glue
Robert and Jan Green
Jean Hadges
Hilary Hall, in memory of Wilma Collie
Geoff and Jackie Hill
James and Rosemary Jacoby
Jenkins Family Foundation
Brett Kelly and Cindy Watkin
Dr Anne Kennedy
Pauline and David Lawton
The Scobie and Claire Mackinnon Trust
Philippa Marchbank
Shirley A McKenzie
Leslie McMullin Foundation
Mrs W Peart
Kerryn Pratchett
Joan P Robinson
Mrs Margaret Ross AM and Dr Ian Ross
The Schapper Family Foundation
Geoff and Judy Steinicke
Penelope Shore
Valerie Silberberg
Anonymous (10)
Meadows Primary School Leadership Team and Staff
Families, friends, and community partners of The Pizzicato Effect

To find out how you can support The Pizzicato Effect, please call the Philanthropy team on 03 9626 1551 or email

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra acknowledges the support of the Department of Education and Training, Victoria, through the Strategic Partnerships Program.

Victorian Government 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,]