In 2000 I heard an impassioned colleague talk about the music education program in Venezuela. She had just returned from visiting the El Sistema music program which works with disadvantaged children using music as a transformational tool. The ground-breaking program emphasises intensive ensemble participation from the earliest stages, group learning, peer teaching and a commitment to keeping central the joy and fun of musical making.

“El Sistema’s primary focus is to create a daily haven of safety, joy and fun that builds every child’s self-esteem and sense of value.”

The results  – both social and musical – are astounding. In Venezuela the program has changed the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of the country’s neediest children. El Sistema graduates like Gustavo Dudamel and Edicson Ruiz are stunning the international music world with their talent and dynamism.

And now the El Sistema program has inspired the education team at the WA Symphony Orchestra to bring the joy of music to primary schools in Kwinana. This is fantastic news!

Oh and I forgot to say, the program is FREE!

What do you think, could music have the same transformational impact on West Aussie kids’ lives?