- Kath Dunn from Wollondilly Public School in Goulburn, New South Wales
- Jane Nicholas, Willandra Primary School in Perth, Western Australia
- Matt Orchard, Apollo Bay P-12 College in Victoria
- David Collins-White, Haberfield Public School in Haberfield, New South Wales
Music can be an effective tool for increasing student engagement in a classroom setting, and for many kids, a school’s music classroom can be a warm, relaxing place to be.
The Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award honours the impact and contribution of music teachers in schools all over Australia each year. The four 2022 nominees have just been announced.
They are David Collins-White from Haberfield Public School in New South Wales, Kath Dunn from Wollondilly Public School in New South Wales, Jane Nicholas from Willandra Primary School in Western Australia, Matt Orchard from Apollo Bay P-12 College in Victoria, and Kath Dunn from Wollondilly Public School. The ARIA Awards in November will feature a live announcement of the winner.
The four nominees for 2022 are profiled in this article.
Kath Dunn from Wollondilly Public School in Goulburn, New South Wales
Kath Dunn, a music teacher at Wollondilly Public School in rural New South Wales, makes sure that music is a regular part of every student’s day.
Through a daily “beat programme,” which was put in place by Dunn to have students practise rhythm, the school aims to have music in every classroom every day, outside of timetabled lessons in the music classroom.
“Kath has made teaching the beat programme incredibly simple,” Krystal Jeffers, the assistant principal, says. The students’ reading skills improved as the year went on for those who eventually gained confidence in their rhythm and it. That’s pretty amazing.
Therefore, Dunn explains, “if children are exposed to beat and singing and then go into their literacy programme, we know that their brains are awake, active, and ready for learning.”
Dunn is also in charge of the school’s dance team, drumline, recorder group, and choir.
Jane Nicholas, Willandra Primary School in Perth, Western Australia
Jane Nicholas, a music teacher at Willandra Primary School, has worked to ensure that the school community’s diversity is reflected in and celebrated through the music programme. Students come from more than 40 different countries, and many of them speak languages besides English.
According to Nicholas, the music programme was designed to reflect the students’ varied cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
Lessons in songwriting, involvement in neighbourhood events, and three choir groups are just a few components of the music programme. A First Nations choir is one of the choirs that Nicholas established in association with nearby First Nations musicians.
Since the formation of the Indigenous choir, our attendance rates have increased,” Keryl Caird, the principal of Willandra Primary School, says.
Matt Orchard, Apollo Bay P-12 College in Victoria
Matt Orchard is a working musician who also teaches music. He has performed live more than 3,500 times. The music programme at Apollo Bay P-12 College is informed by this experience.
I applied every bit of that experience to the music programme here, he claims. ‘I prefer it to be less formal than a typical classroom,’ you say. When they come in here, I want them to feel free to express themselves.
The music facilities at Orchard have grown from two portable classrooms and a cage for storing musical instruments to a room with five spaces, including the school’s own recording studio and two band rooms.
Orchard works with students on their performance abilities throughout their time in school so that by the time they are in their senior year they can perform in front of an audience to further their skills.
David Collins-White, Haberfield Public School in Haberfield, New South Wales
The influence of David Collins-White on music education goes beyond the students and staff of Haberfield Public School. To share songs and games with other teachers around the world, he established his own music education YouTube channel. There have been nearly 500,000 views of his videos.
His own mentoring relationship with music educator and conductor Richard Gill served as the inspiration for his passion for mentoring and working with other teachers.
The mentoring programme, according to Collins-White, was their most significant joint effort. Giving other teachers the knowledge and assurance they need to teach music in their classroom by going into their classrooms and mentoring them.
There are currently nine ensembles at Haberfield Primary, and Collins-White recently co-wrote a new musical about science and math that students will perform.