In the fourth year of the Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award, we’re reminded of the fundamental importance of teachers – their teaching and learning techniques keep their students working and keep them connected through complex and difficult times. Music education, too, is a crucial part of supporting students’ development and wellbeing.

From hundreds of applications, Telstra, ARIA and leading arts organisation The Song Room have selected these four incredible teachers as finalists. Each of the four have very different stories, but all are connected by their passion for music and dedication to education. Now it’s your job to vote for a winner before we present them with this prestigious award at the 2020 ARIA Awards this November.

The teachers are the first nominees to be announced for the 2020 ARIA Awards in partnership with YouTube Music. More nominees will be announced on 13 October 2020 at the ARIA Awards season launch, and the awards ceremony with no audience will be held on 25 November 2020 and broadcast on the Nine Network.

We’re excited to introduce the four nominees for the 2020 Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award:

Sarah Donnelley – Wilcannia Central School, Wilcannia, NSW

Thomas Fienberg – Evans High School, Blacktown, NSW

Kathryn McLennan – Virginia State School, Virginia, QLD

CJ Shaw – Palmerston District Primary School, ACT

This year’s nominees are truly world class, and the 2020 winner will join Antonio Chiappetta (2019, St Andrews College, Sydney, NSW), Scott Maxwell (2018, Grant High School, Mount Gambier, SA) and Renee McCarthy (2017, Woodcroft College, Adelaide SA) in celebrating a their well-deserved place in the ARIAs trophy cabinet. We’re delighted to be presenting the Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award again this year. Music brings joy and has such power in bringing people together – something we’ve all come to appreciate even more during the challenges of this year so far.

The award itself is a highlight of the annual ARIA Awards ceremony and celebrates the vital and foundational role that music education plays in creating the next generation of award-winning artists and performers. Our music teachers nurture their students, and students who study music achieve better grades, better school attendance and increased mental health.

It’s now up to you to help determine the winner of the Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award. Voting is open at the ARIA website, closing on 18 November 2020. The winner will be announced as part of the ARIA Awards on 25 November.