ARIA have introduced a new award at this year’s event, and it’s one that even Flume won’t win – the ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award.

It’s a little left-of-centre, but it makes sense. According to ARIA, the award has been introduced “to celebrate our music teachers for their passion and hard work in educating Australian children to play and love music.”

The award was open to any teacher working in a school, kindergarten, early childhood centre, youth centre or private tuition music school running a music program. Anyone could nominate a teacher for the award.

“This inaugural ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award highlights our commitment to music education,” said Dan Rosen, Chief Executive of ARIA.

“For every performer who makes it to the ARIA stage, there was a teacher or mentor who played a critical role in getting them there. Starting this year, we are celebrating our music teachers on the ARIA national stage and to bring attention to the inspiring and impactful work being done by thousands of music teachers across Australia.”

Jay Laga’aia, Jessica Mauboy, Katie Noonan, and Missy Higgins will come on board as ambassadors for the award.

“Music teachers are the building blocks to a happier and healthier society”, Laga’aia said. “They teach us how to listen and how to communicate. Music lessons start when you’re in the womb. Music teachers give us the tools to appreciate language and sound; how to explore our emotions and hone our hand-eye coordination. Most importantly, Music teachers show us that music is the universal language that can be appreciated by everyone at every age.”

“Teachers can change the course of your life”, Higgins adds. “I had several that played a huge part in helping me decide who I wanted to be when I grew up. Most importantly they gave me the confidence to feel that I could pursue a creative career; that I might have something to offer the world that didn’t involve numbers or spreadsheets!”

This year’s nominees are:

Julie Layt, from Cresent Lagoon State School, Rockhampton
Stephen Mcewan, from Bellarine Secondart College, Drysdale
Renee McCarthy, from Woodcroft College, Morphett Vale
Alex Manton, from Asquith Girls High School, Asquith

Now that the nominees have been announced, a month of public voting will follow, which will no doubt help further spread word of the award, as teachers and communities begin rallying behind their teachers.

It’s a clever idea, a nice idea, and a whole lot better than introducing a Best Festival Food Truck award, or something.

Find out more, here.