Winner Soon To Be Announced: ARIA Music Teacher of the Year

Graham Strahle
| November 26, 2019

UPDATE 28.01.19: Antonio Chiappetta (St Andrews College, Marayong, NSW) has been declared the winner!

More than any other accolade of its type, the ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award has firmly planted public attention on the inspiring work music educators do in changing and enriching the lives of young Australians. Too often their roles have gone unrecognised and unacknowledged in the wider public sphere. Hence the significance of this award which, since it began in 2017, has been shining the spotlight on all the good work our music teachers do. This is whether they are school-based, they are in kindergartens, early childhood centres or youth centres, or they teach privately.

The four nominees contesting the ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award this year are: Antonio Chiappetta in Sydney, Julia Rennick from Gunnedah Conservatorium in NSW, Bel Skinner from North Regional TAFE in Broome in WA, and Lee Strickland from Narbethong State Special School in Brisbane.

Each has brought their own unique energy and passion to music education during the course of their careers. Antonio Chiappetta initiated and directs one of Sydney’s largest school music festivals, Creative Arts Night at his school, St Andrews College in Marayong – each year it attracts more than 2,000 people. Julia Rennick is the leading light in children’s music programs for two decades in the Gunnedah district of north-eastern NSW: she has won high praise for her special learning programs there for people with disabilities.

Bel Skinner is a much admired TAFE music lecturer in Broome in WA’s north-west, where she has played a key role in music education in that region, particularly in remote and disadvantaged communities. Meanwhile in Brisbane, Lee Strickland has done wonderful work in teaching music to vision and hearing impaired students at Narbethong State Special School.

The winner will be announced on 27 November – keep up to date with all the news here. The process is decided by public vote. Anyone can their say, and the outcome depends very much on how local and wider communities rally behind each candidates. So it is up to students, parents and anyone else to support the teacher they know and value. Voting closed on 20 November.

Music Australia briefly caught up with Dan Rosen, ARIA’s Chief Executive Officer, to find out how the award is going. “We have been running the Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Of The Year Award for three years, and every year I’m moved by the incredible submissions we receive from teachers all around Australia,” he said.

“Music education is of fundamental importance to ARIA, and we need to support our music teachers if we want to have a successful and thriving Australian music industry. Our music teachers are raising the next generation of ARIA Award winners, and I am excited to celebrate our inspiring nominees in November.”

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