Erica Rasmussen

Community Arts & Cultural Development

Crashendo! Woodwind Pilot Program

CRASHENDO! is an El Sistema inspired music education program. It offers quality musical training to children aged 7-12 as a vehicle for positive change.

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El Sistema was founded by economist and musician Jose Antonio Abreu over thirty years ago in Venezuela, offering musical training for young people as a vehicle for positive social change. It has been shown to have a positive effect on participants, both socially and economically. The Inter-American Development Bank established that for every dollar spent on the program, it yields $1.34 in social dividends. Crashendo! was established with the El Sistema principles at its core, to provide a music program for Australian children.

The Crashendo! program is made up of children aged 7-12 who attend two two-hour classes after school each week for orchestral rehearsals, group tutorials and choir. The children receive stellar musical training and through their involvement in the program develop valuable skills such as teamwork, coordination, discipline, commitment and concentration. They develop a strong sense of achievement and pride on an individual level and as part of a team. They learn to work together and rely on each other in a positive, engaging environment.

We are currently raising money for a Woodwind Pilot Program. This will introduce flute and clarinet lessons to Crashendo! It will enable us to offer a greater number of places to students, extend the range of instruments available and increase opportunities for engagement with community partners. It will also raise the profile of Crashendo! as a principal music education program in the west that offers extensive opportunities to children who experience disadvantage due to low socio-economic status.

Crashendo! was established in 2011 as a partnership between Laverton P-12 College, Hobsons Bay City Council and Victoria Police Hobsons Bay. Crashendo! has formed partnerships in the community including with Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School, The Song Room, Esther Lauretti’s Music School and Alex W Grant Violins. These partnerships provide a platform for knowledge transfer, raise awareness of our program in the community and inspire the kids to work even harder than they already do.

Your support will enable us to purchase and repair instruments, invite more students to join our program and ensure existing students can continue to participate, attend performances and masterclasses by professional artists, purchase sheet music and provide professional development for teaching artists.

All donations are greatly appreciated and will support the growth of Crashendo!

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Projects Funded


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Erica completed a Master of Music Performance in Percussion and Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the University of Melbourne with Timothy Hook and Robert Cossom. While there, she was awarded the J.S Bach prize and received a scholarship to study with Montreal Symphony Orchestra timpanist Andrei Malashenko at McGill University (Canada). In 2009, Erica received a grant from the Cybec Foundation to participate in a Winter Music Creative Residency at the Banff Centre, Canada.

Erica has managed and directed of number of professional and community projects since 2009. She has been successful in receiving a number of grants to help fund the projects, including Moonee Valley Foundation, ArtPlay and City of Melbourne. The projects include ‘Falling Colours of Autumn’, a community art and music project at the Incinerator Arts Complex in Moonee Ponds, ‘Paint What You Hear’, a series of workshops where children respond to live music using paint, and most recently a multi-disciplinary project, ‘Silhouettes, Inside Outside’ at fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne.

Erica is a regular teaching artist and workshop director at ArtPlay and with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

She is also Director of ‘Crashendo!’, an El Sistema-inspired music program at Laverton P-12 College and instrumental percussion teacher at various primary and secondary schools.

Erica is an avid performer, enjoys playing various gigs around Melbourne and is co-founder of Tungsten Duo and the award-winning percussion trio, BED Percussion.


Lynette Gillman


Jonathan ODonnell


Jonathan ODonnell


Vicki Hallett


Louise Honman


Melanie Walters


Nat Grant


Angela and David Taft


Clodagh Cunningham


Amanda Rasmussen