Support Learning and Engagement


"I am a passionate advocate for music education in Australia. We know that music is undeniably linked with social, cognitive, physical and emotional growth and wellbeing. Studies show that music helps with skills such as discipline, language, reasoning and self-confidence."– Richard Tognetti AO, Artistic Director

Our National Education Program offers a depth of engagement across Australia, offering access to our outstanding musicians and working closely with different communities to ensure our programs have a direct impact with all involved.

Some programs we run annually include:

ACO Foundations

ACO Foundations, currently in its pilot year at St Marys North Public School, is designed to provide the opportunity for a whole class of Year 1 students to start learning to play the violin or cello at school, in class time.

The St Mary’s North program will evaluate how access to music education may affect life outcomes and have a long-term impact on productivity by measuring working memory, auditory processing and musical ability. It is being monitored by the School of Economics at Sydney University in partnership with Anita Collins, an Australian expert on the benefits of music on cognitive development. And it is hoped that the results from this program will encourage and support the more widespread introduction of similar music education programs.


ACO Music & Art

ACO Music & Art is an online curriculum which offers primary school students the chance to learn from ACO musicians through calling into a Virtual Classroom.  Students create visual art works in response to music and connect with our musicians wherever they are in the world.  Teachers have access to a dedicated website with Australian curriculum-linked lesson plans, content and video tutorials which guide teachers through different musical concepts, instruments and historical periods in music and art.  You can see some of the artworks inspired by this program here


ACO Inspire Quartet

Our dedicated education quartet is made up of ACO Collective alumni who have a passion for music education.  The Quartet facilitates string workshops and schools’ concerts, as well as presenting video conferences and live visits as part of ACO Music & Art for students in regional areas and capital cities across Australia.

Their work includes visiting Worawa Aboriginal College in Healesville, Victoria and Djarragun College near Cairns where they work with students to create visual artworks in response to music.  They also partner with Gondwana Choirs and have performed numerous times with Cairns Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir in Uluru and Cairns, collaborating with the choristers at their annual camp.

ACO Inspire also regularly visit The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and partners with teachers at the Hospital’s Education Institute to continue students’ learning while they are in hospital.  Students collaborate with our musicians to write, perform and record their songs, developing music and literacy skills which can be used when they return to school.


ACO Collective

This ensemble combines musicians of the ACO with young professional string players from the ACO’s Emerging Artist Program.  This is our touring ensemble, with ACO Collective performing across Australia and undertaking regional tours annually to bring chamber music to remote communities.

This year they also collaborated with The Hush Foundation to record ‘Hush 18’.  The repertoire showcases established and emerging Australian composers, inspired by time spent with young people with chronic illness and mental health challenges at children’s hospitals around Australia.


ACO Move

ACO Move is a series of integrated music, sound and movement classes for young adults and school students with disability. 

In 2018 we are collaborating with Back to Back Theatre in Melbourne and the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Bella Connect Plus program in Sydney, to increase the outreach of these classes. 


ACO Academy

Led by ACO Violinist Aiko Goto, this annual week-long workshop is available to top-level secondary string students.  Students spend the week rehearsing and performing with ACO mentors, building skills in technical accuracy, ensemble playing and performance technique.  The week culminates in a public performance as a chamber orchestra, playing alongside ACO musicians.


ACO Emerging Artists’ Program

This program connects the next generation of talented young Australian string players with members of the ACO.  Offered to tertiary and post-tertiary musicians, Emerging Artists rehearse and perform with the ACO and are paired with a full-time musician as their mentor for the full year.  Emerging Artists also tour nationally and internationally with the ACO as part of ACO Collective, providing them with the invaluable experience of working as a professional musician.  Five Emerging Artists have now gone on to become members of the ACO.


Penrith Youth Orchestra

In partnership with the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and Penrith Symphony Orchestra, students participate in rehearsals and workshops each term coached by PSO and ACO musicians, culminating in a public performance playing alongside professional musicians. We are proud that in 2018 we have added brass and wind players to the ensemble, creating Penrith’s first youth orchestra.

For more information on supporting our Education programs, contact:

Katie Henebery
Philanthropy Manager
(02) 8274 3803