The El Sistema-inspired free music education program run by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Crescendo, has received national recognition in this year’s Art Music Awards. Bearing the motto “From little things, big things grow”, it has for five years been WASO’s flagship community outreach and education program, and was enough to earn the orchestra the Award for Excellence in Music Education.
Crescendo delivers classroom music teaching to all students up to the age of five in two primary schools in Kwinana, south of Perth, and older kids receive instrumental lessons. Currently reaching more than 400 students, it is provided free with the aim of instilling “confidence, resilience, emotional and social well-being”, says WASO’s website.
“WASO takes its commitment to Education & Community Engagement very seriously,” it adds, and the truth is that Crescendo is just one of a vigorous and well developed series of educational and community programs that set a high benchmark for orchestral delivery of music education in this country. Other programs offered are Onslow Kids Music Education (OK ME!), which brings ensemble playing and other activities to north-west WA, interactive classroom concerts for special education needs schools called Harmony Music, and a Music for the Ages series of chamber music performances for those in the aged care and healthcare sectors. Cassandra Lake, WASO’s Executive Manager, Community Engagement, manages them all – find details here.
Crescendo has attracted most attention, not least because it has been credited with raising NAPLAN scores in the schools where it takes place, Medina Primary School and North Parmelia Primary School – see our earlier story on this. El Sistema-inspired programs have been tried elsewhere in this country, and not all have been successful (Sistema Australia foundered some years ago), but Crescendo has been a shining success. Congratulations both to WASO and the schools involved.