In 2020, WASO marked seven years since the pilot of schools music education program, Crescendo. Now it’s time to celebrate, with an independent case study confirming the program is helping kids achieve in the music room and beyond.

Crescendo was developed by WASO to address social disadvantage by generating better outcomes for WA students through the power of music. The only one of its kind in WA, the award-winning program is now reaching 426 students in Kwinana.

Crescendo provides weekly classroom music lessons to all students from Pre-Primary to Year 6 at Medina Primary School and North Parmelia Primary School. Students in Years 4 to 6 also receive violin lessons and the opportunity to participate in a string ensemble.

North Parmelia Primary School students play in a string ensemble.

In addition, students have the opportunity to attend performances at Perth Concert Hall as part of WASO’s Education Week, and enjoy a number of in-school performances from WASO musicians including the Education Chamber Orchestra (EChO) and guest artists.

WASO commissioned independent consulting firm Culture Counts to conduct a case study into the program, marking a milestone year for Crescendo with the first classes completing the full program graduating in 2020.

Confirming Crescendo’s success, the report documented some incredibly positive outcomes for students, leaving both WASO and the participating schools thrilled.

The report concluded that the program gives individual students confidence to speak up, define goals and take an active role in decision-making (also known as personal agency), which was likely to lead to greater academic performance. The program was also confirmed to generate a sense of inclusion and belonging to the community-at-large, beyond those directly participating in the program.

WASO Violinist Bec Glorie and Community Engagement Manager Bel Gerard work with students from Medina Primary School on music education exercises.

Staff and parents from both schools have also reported on improved concentration, self-confidence, and enthusiasm for learning.

With these findings, WASO will continue to work with the Kwinana community to provide students with opportunities to develop confidence, resilience, and emotional and social wellbeing.

WASO CEO Paul Shannon said, “Play-based learning programs for young children, such as Crescendo, provide a strong basis for future success at school. Students engaging with and playing music have improved school attendance, accelerated learning, and more confidence to face challenges and create solutions. They are generally happier young people who are more connected with their community. And, happier young people grow up to be more resilient adults with brighter futures.”

Crescendo students at Perth Concert Hall after attending a WASO concert.

The Crescendo Music Education Program Case Study (2015-2020) can be viewed in full here.

The Crescendo program and its delivery are supported by Crown Resorts Foundation, Packer Family Foundation, Crescendo Giving Circle, Feilman Foundation, The Stan Perron Charitable Foundation, Tianqi Lithium Australia, Bunning Family and Government of Western Australia, Department of Education - Instrumental Music School Services.