West Australian Symphony Orchestra

The West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) is WA’s state orchestra and the state’s largest employer of performing artists. WASO reaches over two million people with its music performances from staged works to online performances. The Orchestra also delivers a broad array of musical experiences through its broad and comprehensive Community Engagement and Education program.

In response to a gap in the Australian public school curriculum for music education, WASO launched the Crescendo program in 2014 to address this need and provide evidence on the importance of music in schools. In 2023, The Balnaves Foundation became the Lead Partner of Crescendo.

Crescendo is a free weekly play-based music education program, the only one of its kind in Western Australia. Delivered to two primary schools in Kwinana, south of Perth, Crescendo provides every student from pre-primary to year 6 with a weekly 45-minute vocal-based music lesson from Crescendo Teaching Artists. From year 4, each student learns the violin or cello, receiving a 30-minute weekly group lesson with string ensemble rehearsals held for year 5 and 6 students in addition to the ongoing vocal lessons.

The program also provides classroom teachers with free learning resources to support program delivery and a range of WASO incursions, workshops and performances by musicians, excursions to WASO events and performance opportunities for the students.

So far, Crescendo has shown higher NAPLAN results and better social and emotional well-being among students since inception. The Foundation hopes that our support will see these results continue to improve as the program grows.