As I have remarked before it seems to be overwhelmingly the children of migrants - particularly Asian migrants - in Australia who attend private schools and participate in such things as music performances. Long-term residents place a lower emphasis on the value of education and the value of developing difficult-to-acquire skills such as playing the violin or the piano.
It may be that new migrants face economic and cultural barriers toward employment in top jobs and hence have to invest more in their human capital to achieve what a native-born Australian can achieve with less effort*. But that does not explain the greater interest among migrants in cultural pursuits and the greater emphasis among the native-born for brainless activities involving, for example, sports such as football and for viewing totally moronic TV shows.
It seems to me that many migrant parents just have a greater appreciation of the value of education and generally of making effort to acquire worthwhile skills. They make the effort and get the rewards.
My hypothesis is that living well in a stable, wealthy society introduces an element of complacency in making effort choices in relation to aquiring skills. I don't have evidence that goes beyond casual observation to back up this story but believe there is some element of truth to it.
This NYT article deals with rising ignorance among kids in America. The US is the wealthiest large economy on earth and the largest democracy. Maths skills are increasingly woeful and general knowledge skills are poor among most of its children. The US provides an image of where our socioety will end up if the general attitudes of native born Australians to education do not change.
Australians are often stingy when it comes to many of the important things in life. They want cheap food and cheap wine and that's what is delivered in most Australian restaurants and in the disgusting fast food sector. Native born Australians also want education on the cheap and that is what is increasingly delivered in our schools and universities.
In an increasingly competitive world we will lose out longer-term as a society as a consequence of these attitudes. Of course we lose out right now in terms of being more ignorant and having less access to valuable academic and cultural values. Achieving enjoyment and pleasure from life involves acquiring skills just as does gaining a good job.
* It would be interesting to know if second-generation migrants come to acquire the attitudes of long-term native-born Australians.