Music Education Program Transforms Students’ Lives

A music education program in Sydney has been making a significant impact on the lives of students, improving their cognitive abilities, academic performance, and overall well-being. The Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) Foundations Program, in partnership with St Marys North Public School, has been offering music classes at the start of each school day through a pilot program. Despite the significant differences between the school and the ACO’s headquarters, which is located 41 kilometers away, this partnership has bridged the gap between the two communities.

The program, which started in 2018, provides students from years 1 to 3 with 15 minutes of music practice guided by their classroom teachers. The ACO provides violins and cellos to the students and offers weekly lessons and workshops with ACO musicians. This integration of music throughout the school curriculum has resulted in positive outcomes for the students. Researchers and academics from the University of Sydney have been closely monitoring the program and have found improvements in cognitive abilities, academic performance, emotional and physical development, and motivation among the students.

The key to the program’s success lies in the early introduction to music, regular practice, and engaging teaching methods. Studies have shown that starting to play a musical instrument before the age of seven, practicing regularly for at least 15 minutes a day, and continuing for a minimum of two to three years can have lasting benefits on brain structure and functioning. Music education needs to be embedded in the curriculum, allowing students to develop a love for music and experience its transformative power.

Principal Lisa Parello of St Marys North Public School emphasizes the program’s ability to teach resilience and open doors for students who were previously unaware of their potential. This program has been recognized as an outstanding initiative by the Education Department and has significantly improved school attendance and punctuality. The positive impact of music education on students’ lives cannot be underestimated, and efforts should be made to integrate music into the curriculum of all public schools.


Q: What benefits does the music education program offer to students?
A: The program has been found to improve cognitive abilities, academic performance, emotional and physical development, and motivation among students.

Q: What are the key factors in the program’s success?
A: Early introduction to music, regular practice, engaging teaching methods, and embedding music in the curriculum are key factors in the program’s success.

Q: How long should students continue practicing a musical instrument?
A: Students are encouraged to continue practicing for at least two to three years to experience lasting benefits.

Q: How can music education benefit students at any age?
A: Playing a musical instrument can make permanent beneficial changes to the structure and functioning of the brain at any age.

Q: What is the impact of the program on school attendance and punctuality?
A: The program has significantly improved school attendance and punctuality, with students motivated to be on time for their music practice sessions.