News 27 May 2021

Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award returns for 2021

Nominations now open.

Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award returns for 2021

Telstra and the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) today announced that nominations have opened for the 5th annual Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award.

Launched in partnership with The Song Room in 2017, this Award shines a spotlight on Australia’s incredible music teachers in schools, to acknowledge their creativity, dedication and the impact they have on the lives of their students and the wider community. 

The Award also celebrates the importance of music in education and student engagement. Research proves students involved in music achieve better results, better school attendance and improved self-esteem and mental health. Despite this, three out of four Australian children do not have access to specialist music education at school.

ARIA CEO, Annabelle Herd, said: “In 2021, Telstra, ARIA and The Song Room are once again celebrating the exceptional influence music teachers have to bring joy to our kids’ lives and set them up for brighter futures through music. 

“For the fifth year running, ARIA is asking Australians to nominate outstanding music teachers. We are looking for submissions from across the country nominating teachers who work with any age group to be considered for this very special award.” 

Behind almost every artist who makes it to the ARIA Awards stage is a dedicated music teacher or mentor, and the ARIA Music Teacher Award is about recognising that important contribution.”

Previous winners of the Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award have come from Woodcroft College, Morphette Vale, SA (2017), Grant High School, Mount Gambier SA (2018) St Andrew’s College, Sydney (2019) and Wilcannia Central School, Wilcannia, NSW (2020). 

ARIA Award winner and the first female Wiggle, Emma Watkins, commented: “I had the pleasure of being a Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award Ambassador in 2019 and saw first-hand the life changing work our Music Teachers do. 

“It was so wonderful spending time with Mrs Rennick in Gunnedah and seeing how much music inspires the children, it is an Award I am very passionate about, so I hope everyone jumps online to nominate their favourite music teacher this year.” 

Nine-time ARIA Award winner Missy Higgins added: “Being an ambassador for the ARIA Music Teacher Award in 2017 was such a great experience, and the Award is a crucial reminder of the important role music teachers play not only in enriching young minds but also in shaping the future of the music industry.” 

Media, Sponsorships & Awards Principal at Telstra, Genelle Sharples, said: “Our partnership with ARIA is an important one to Telstra and we are delighted to be working with the ARIA Awards again in 2021 to recognise and reward the wonderful teachers who inspire future generations every day.”

CEO of The Song Room, Alice Gerlach, said: “Witnessing the enormous effect that music education had on students during 2020 affirmed how life-changing music can be.  Many vulnerable children stayed connected to their learning during this turbulent year because of music at their school. We are thrilled to partner with ARIA for the fifth year to acknowledge the impact that music teachers have on children and their communities”. 

Entries are now open, and a shortlist of nominees will be announced in October. Each shortlisted ARIA nominated teacher will be partnered with one of the Artist Ambassadors who will connect with the school, help celebrate its success and tell its music teacher’s story. 

Previous ambassadors for the Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award include Conrad Sewell, Emma Wiggle, Guy Sebastian, Jessica Mauboy, Josh Pyke, Justine Clarke, Katie Noonan, Lior, Missy Higgins, Montaigne, The Veronicas, Sheppard, and Thelma Plum. 

A public and music industry voting process will then be conducted culminating in the announcement of the winner at the 2021 ARIA Awards in November. 

To view guidelines and/or to nominate your favourite music teacher, visit