Crescendo: Inspiring a Lifelong Love of Music

We create the spark that sets off a lifelong love of music because we believe it has the power to touch souls and enrich lives. Since 2014 our Crescendo program has connected students in Perth’s south with our teaching artists and musicians to develop collaborative skills that have real impact. Crescendo is part of our Community Engagement and Education program and has proven to have a profound effect on the social and emotional wellbeing, and learning of participating students. We have big plans for its future.


Crescendo was inspired by El Sistema, a social action music program that was founded in Venezuela in 1975 by Maestro José Antonio Abreu.

The program in Venezuela offers musical ensemble participation from an early age according to a set of clear principles, which focus on intensive and joyful music making as a vehicle for social development. El Sistema particularly looks to offer opportunities for the disadvantaged and is based in local centres, rooted in each local community.

El Sistema Venezuela currently has dozens of orchestras and over 700,000 students participating worldwide.


“Schools have reported higher NAPLAN results and better social and emotional wellbeing among students since becoming involved in the Crescendo program.” ABC News


WASO’s Crescendo program uses music as a vehicle for change and looks to the orchestra as a model for society, a place that is the very definition of togetherness, where children learn to listen and respect each other, and work together. While a single one-off experience is powerful, it is not enough to make meaningful change and WASO is committed to offering long-term positive learning experiences to help participants understand that they can be confident to create a life filled with opportunity.

Crescendo is currently providing weekly music lessons to all students from Pre-primary to Year 4 at two Kwinana Primary Schools - Medina Primary School and North Parmelia Primary School. All students enrolled in Pre-Primary start with vocal lessons as a foundation to introduce string instruments in later years. In addition to their weekly lesson, students also have the opportunity to attend WASO performances at Perth Concert Hall as part of Education Week+, to hear our Education Chamber Orchestra (EChO) perform in their local community, as well as participate in a number of in-school presentations with guest musicians and ensembles.

Our vision is to provide music lessons to every student at each school from Pre-primary to Year 6 by 2020.



"Medina Primary School has a low return rate for permission forms; however, our WASO permission forms are promptly returned and have a high rate of attendance, with a lot of parents wanting to attend these excursions as well," Kate Reid, Year 3 teacher, Medina Primary.

The program continues to deliver and below are a sample of the outcomes:

  • A small team of music specialist teaching artists deliver free weekly 45 minute vocal and/or string lessons, during school hours, to all students in Pre-Primary to Year 4 (2018) at both schools.
  • WASO is currently delivering 15 classroom lessons per week to around 350 students.
  • Professional WASO teaching artists deliver content aligned to the Music Syllabus, Arts Learning Area, P-10 Western Australian Curriculum
  • We have 50 students also learning violin in addition to their classroom music. WASO is delivering an additional 9 instrumental lessons per week
  • Encouraged frequent informal and formal student performances, in front of peers, family or friends and audiences in the community, helping to build participants social and emotional wellbeing as well as strengthening community support and value for the program.
  • A broad range of WASO in–school performances and excursions to see the full symphony orchestra at the Perth Concert Hall for school concerts as part of WASO’s Education Week at the Perth Concert Hall
  • Free resources for classroom teachers to support program delivery
  • Professional learning for teachers focused on working with children who live at risk, and
  • Regular parent and teacher meetings to encourage their support for their children in this program

Results from surveys have underpinned the program’s value with 100% of respondents affirming that Crescendo was relevant to their student’s music education. They felt the words ‘happy’ and ‘engaged’ and ‘supported’ were most relevant to their student’s response to the program. They also felt their students had learnt ‘to have fun with music and the instruments of the orchestra’ with specific students having particularly benefitted from the program. ‘Confidence’ and ‘participation’ ranked highest when asked to describe the experience of performing in front of the school community.

Only five years into the program, the short term outcomes have been substantial. Ongoing success will build on this base with the long-term goal of achieving internationally recognised outcomes including reduced truancy, increased concentration, and improvement across learning areas with happy, resilient children. Crescendo has the potential to positively change participants’ life trajectory.



"The children are learning cultural diversity, reading, writing, numeracy — but not in a way they are used to… They're learning to be responsible and respectful, to each other and the instruments … these skills can often be missed in today's culture. " Griffin Wright, WASO teacher.

Visionary programs are simply good ideas until they are backed by organisations and individuals who share that vision and we could not have created and delivered this program for the long term without the visionary leadership of our corporate and foundation partners as well as patrons who have helped to bring this program into being.

Crescendo is supported by:

Tianqi Lithium

Crown Resorts Foundation

Packer Family Foundation

The Stan Perron Charitable Foundation

Crescendo Giving Circle


"Learning music is particularly influential at young ages of life as it develops a 'musical mind', which basically means they [the students] are able to understand skills like multitasking and create a neural architecture that creates improvement in many aspects of the child's life — skills for lifelong learning." Alan Harvey, Neuroscientist and musician.

Our dynamic and entertaining Community Engagement and Education programs reach diverse audiences and speak to the heart of our company mission to touch souls and enrich lives through music.

In 2018, we presented over 700 Community Outreach and Education performances, workshops, classes and masterclasses to more than 50,000 people across the state and internationally.

Our award-winning program reaches music appreciators of all ages including young people, families, pre-professional musicians, educators and amateur enthusiasts.

If you would like to learn more about Crescendo or how our Community Engagement and Education program is reaching out into our community, please contact Cassandra Lake, Executive Manager, Community Engagement


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