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WAM Member Spotlight: Deborah Skelton ARIA Nomination

17 Oct



Perth music teacher, Deb Skelton has today been selected from hundreds of applicants as an official ARIA nominee for this year’s ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award which is run in partnership with The Song Room and sponsored by Telstra. Inspired by the music teacher, Australian singer-songwriter Thelma Plum, visited Caladenia Primary School in Canning Vale to shine a light on the importance of music education and celebrate the local primary school teacher’s ARIA nomination.

Skelton has taken the music program at Caladenia Primary to new heights since 2015 with over 650 students receiving weekly specialist classroom music sessions, in addition to implementing two choirs, an orchestra, a rock band, a dance troupe, student and teacher ukulele ensembles and organising after school instrumental music tutorials for approximately 130 students.

She credits her programs at Caladenia Primary with instilling much more than just a passion for music in her students. “Music inspires creativity and imagination; instils discipline; increases confidence and self-esteem, improves all areas of learning and brain development; promotes cultural harmony and positive behavior and most importantly, brings joy to those who experience it!”

This ARIA Award category celebrates Australia’s music educators for their dedication and hard work in teaching children to play and love music. The inaugural 2017 winner, Renee McCarthy from Woodcroft College in South Australia stole the hearts of Australians nationwide when she accepted the award live at the ARIA Award ceremony.

The benefits of music education have been consistently proven by decades of research, and they are experienced every day by Australian teachers and students who actively engage and participate in music making. Research into The Song Room’s programs in particular provides evidence that children involved in the program achieve better grades, attend school more often, improve their self-esteem and confidence, and experience less stress, depression, loneliness and anger. Despite these facts, 3 in 4 Australian schools do not have a specialist music teacher.

“I strive to encourage a more peaceful and compassionate society through music education and sharing that music with the whole community.” says Skelton.

The success of Deb’s music program is having a genuine impact on student’s lives, says Deputy Principal, Robert Smith, as well as those of her colleagues. “It was clear from the outset that Deborah was one of those exceptional teachers who is passionate and committed to improving learning and engaging students.”

The music program at Caladenia Primary has seen Deb’s students learn to sing in over 20 languages, including Nyoongar and AUSLAN, and those students in the music program have shown a continuous year on year improvement since 2015.

The 2018 ARIA nominees, announced on 11 October, includes four nominees for Music Teacher of the Year. The public can vote for their favourite, including Ms. Skelton, online at Voting closes at 11:59pm on Wednesday 21 November. The music teacher with the most public votes will be presented with an ARIA at the 2018 ARIA Award ceremony held in Sydney on 28 November, 2018.

Thelma Plum is an Indigenous Australian singer/songwriter whose voice radiates truth and sincerity. Discovered in 2012 after winning the Triple J’s National Indigenous Music Awards, she has releases two EP’s, with her latest single, “Clumsy Love,” out now.

As a successful music artist, Thelma Plum is keen to promote the positive effects of music programs like the one run by Deb Skelton at Caladenia Primary School.

This award is open to public voting, so be sure to show your support by voting for Deborah here. Voting closes 21 November 2018.

Be sure to also check out the amazing WA musicians and artists whom have been nominated in the 2018 ARIA Awards here.

Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The ArtsGovernment of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lottery West, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.