Achieving meaningful change in children's lives through music education
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Achieving meaningful change in children's lives through music education

Credit Suisse and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) embarked on a unique philanthropic program last year to bring music education to Primary School children in Australia, and in the process – just maybe, play a small part in helping to transform their academic careers.

Credit Suisse's unique Australian community program with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Source: Sydney Symphony Orchestra

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This initiative introduces a structured music education program to six primary schools which otherwise wouldn't have the means to be able to provide one themselves, in Sydney and Melbourne over a three year period.

"It's not just about music education, it's about enhancing the overall learning opportunities for young students and creating a long-lasting culture of music in their communities," said John Knox, CEO of Credit Suisse Australia.

Many studies exist which highlight the link between access to a music education and overall academic performance, and one of the driving factors in developing this program was the opportunity to create a catalyst for meaningful and measurable change in our students' scholastic careers. The aim of this program is to prove that causal link and if successful, enable educators to build better curriculums that are more effective in educating the next generation, not just in Australia, but everywhere.

The initiative is funded by Credit Suisse Australia and driven by our staff and the SSO through an Advisory Board, the Credit Suisse Music Education Program Advisory Board, comprising members from across our Australian business. A year into the program and we see a much more interactive and dynamic relationship developing with the pupils and teachers in our adopted schools.

As Credit Suisse Music Education Program Advisory Board Kate Stone, explained: "We recently donated percussion kits to help teachers bring the program to life in the classroom. One of our members, Tim McKessar, also helped run a Shark Tank event at Parramatta Public School, where the pupils decided on what stalls would raise the most money for their end of year fete and pitched their business ideas to our bankers, who selected the best ones."

A teacher at Mascot Public School, Melanie Young, said following receipt of their percussion kits: "It is so practical, being able to pick up one bag and take it from class to class or for the classroom teachers to be able to collect it for use in their classrooms. Our kids are very privileged to have this program in our school. Thank you again."

Another teacher at La Perouse Public School, Giovanna Connolly, described the impact the program was having so far.

"The children have loved the program and are always very excited when we bring the instruments out. Some have even been going home and teaching their parents the songs and dances we've been learning. Music is a great leveller and appeals to everyone in some way. It gives the children an opportunity to be creative. It exposes them to different genres of music and takes them into a world of imagination," she said.

More than 1,000 pupils, approximately 36 teachers and many of Credit Suisse's employees, with the help of the Credit Suisse Music Education Advisory Board and the SSO, will help bring this program to life over the next two years.