Telstra ARIA Music Teacher 2018 Winner And Nominees

Winner - Scott Maxwell

Grant High School – South Australia

Scott Maxwell is the music teacher at Grant High School in Mt Gambier. Located five hours drive from Melbourne and five hours drive from Adelaide, the students at Grant High have embraced the musical enthusiasm brought by Mr Maxwell.

His nomination reflects the work he’s put in to bring the school’s music program back from the brink. The students are now cramming into his classes and desperate to be involved in the musicals that he writes.

He’s also implemented a song writing program.

“I think songwriting is really important for kids to engage on a different level. Where they’re not being told what to do, where they have the freedom to create,” Mr Maxwell said.


Becky Hall

Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute – Victoria

Becky Hall teaches music to kids at the Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute in Melbourne.

The children have serious and chronic health conditions.

“I absolutely love being a music teacher and to be able to share that with kids and help them learn to express themselves I think is really special,” Ms Hall said.

Becky started the integrated music program. If the patients are too unwell to make it to the dedicated music room, Becky goes bedside and takes the music to them.

She’s even developed and published ‘The Song Book’. It’s a book and CD together and is a compilation of songs the kids have helped to write as well as their page illustrations.

Deborah Skelton

Caladenia Primary School – Western Australia

The current face of Telstra’s advertising campaigns, Thelma Plum, travelled to Western Australia to meet nominee Deborah Skelton from Caladenia Primary School.

Mrs Skelton combines Auslan and Aboriginal languages into her music teaching.

“I get to spend my day making music with amazing young individuals,” Mrs Skelton said.

Since joining the school she has created a rock band, two choirs and an orchestra.

Dean Harawira

Nerang State High School – Queensland

Nerang State High School on the Gold Coast is where Dean Harawira brings his passion for music and education together to inspire the kids.

There’s a funk band that regularly performs outside the school and a school drum line. He’s taken them overseas to perform and have won national and international awards.

“The drum line and the funk band have benefited the school. I believe that when disengaged kids are mixing with high achieving kids it actually gives them a goal to strive for,” Mr Harawira said.