Is music your favourite subject at school, is your music teacher an inspiration, a total legend?

Now you can pay it back.

Nominations are now open for the ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award, an annual honour that recognises the unsung heroes of the Australian music industry.

Without music educators, the talent pool would be a trickle, and your favourite artist probably would’ve given up long ago.

Their work often goes unappreciated, and ARIA sought to change that with the introduction of a special category in 2017 to recognise music teachers for their “passion and hard work” in providing Australian children with a better education and the chance to engage with music.

Telstra is headline sponsor of this year’s award, which will be dedicated to Richard Gill AO, the respected Sydney –based music educator and conductor who passed away last October. The NSW government paid tribute to Gill for his “incredible contribution” to music education, and “as a tireless advocate, he brought his love of music to many and his legacy will have a lasting impact.”

The annual honour was introduced to recognise music teachers for their passion and hard work in providing Australian children with a better education and the chance to play and enjoy music.

Entries are now open and a shortlist of nominees will be announced at the ARIA Nominations Event in October. Each shortlisted ARIA-nominated teacher will be partnered with one of an Artist Ambassador who will visit the school, help celebrate their success and tell their story.

A public voting process will take place, with the overall winner to be announced at the 2019 ARIA Awards, to be held in Sydney this November.

Scott Maxwell, 2018 ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award winner

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At last year’s ARIAs, Scott Maxwell from Grant High School in Mount Gambier, South Australia took out Music Teacher of the Year. Scott was one of four finalist music teachers from four different states who were visited by ARIA Artist Ambassadors Guy Sebastian, Justine Clarke, Thelma Plum and Sheppard, who announced the winner on the night.

The Telstra ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award is an initiative of ARIA and The Song Room, a national arts education organisation.

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The award is open to any teacher out there who is working on a music program in a school, kindergarten, early childhood centre, youth centre or private tuition music school in Australia. Anyone from around the country – from students, to school administrators, to friends and family – can nominate the music teacher they admire most for consideration to win an ARIA.

For more information or to nominate your favourite music educator, visit www.ariamusicteacheraward.com.au.