Shelley Davis
Flowerdale Primary School, VIC

Shelley works in our tiny rural school of 26 students. Its a bit hard to have a massed choir or an orchestra at our school, but that does not stop Shelley. Each week she runs a choir session of 10 multi age students, participates in BOITE each year, writes an original script for a school  concert, teaches songs, dance moves and dramatic components for the concert, takes fantastic music and drama lessons weekly including slap stick humour, basketballs bouncing to the beat and much more to engage our students in the joy of music and performance. Her innovative and engaging lessons encourage group and partner work which supports the complex needs of some of our students with special needs. She conducted a brilliant 6 week transition program with our neighbouring kinder students to engage then in music and to see what it will be like as they move into our school next year. All of these amazing achievements are conducted with the largest smile, using a cowboy slur and a ten gallon hat and oozes in positivity and joy.

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Ariel Balague
Macarthur Adventist College, NSW

Mr Balague is the Music Teacher at Macarthur Adventist School. This school is situated in a very low socio-economic area of south west Sydney and many of the students do not have the opportunity to learn instruments. Mr Balague has such a passion for all students to have the opportunity to learn music and has given freely of his time and his own personal resources to ensure that all students who would like to learn an instrument has that opportunity - no matter the cost.

Mr Balague has started up an orchestra at the school as well as being involved in weekend orchestras with children in his local church. He has also looked for opportunities for the students to perform right from kindy age beginners.

Mr Balague has also designed music desks for the classroom that allow students to have easy access to keyboards for all lessons. He has worked with tradesmen to build and install these desks in his classroom all with his own time and money.

Mr Balague cares deeply for each of his students and has gone above and beyond what is expected of a teacher. He freely gives his own time and money to ensure that all students have an exciting adventure in music.

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Therese Balanzategui
Girraween Primary School, NT

Therese is a passionate music educator who brings life to every lesson. She works across our school to instill and build a love of music in our students, sparking creativity and confidence in our learners. Therese is committed to music learning and how it can foster the building of strong mental health through the programs she runs with small groups such as 'rhythm to recovery'. This year Therese has lead our music team (part of our student leadership team) to stretch themselves in their craft by performing at assemblies and mentoring drumming at lunch times. Therese volunteered to lead a 'singalong' and ran a provocation at our recent 'writer's big day out' to inspire our year six and seven students across our region to connect music with writing. Therese is charismatic and her love of music shows in everything she does.     

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Robyn Martin & Samuel Martin
Eden Marine High School, NSW

Robyn and Sam have job shared the role of the music teacher at Eden Marine High School since starting their family seven years ago. As a husband and wife team, they are both very talented in all areas of music and their teaching expertise compliment each other, giving our students the best possible music education available. As performers who regularly play at community events, as well as the odd touring event within Australia, they are highly regarded in the wider community and are on various music committees which also benefits our students. As we have only one permanent music teacher at EMHS, they are the ones who are always called upon to help out with assemblies and concerts that involve all schools in the Sapphire Coast Learning Community Network. They have trained students in sound engineering and have been responsible for the purchasing of all equipment and lighting that exists in our hall, making it the preferred venue for any large events in the community. Robyn is a member of the Sapphire Coast Learning Community Music Camp Committee and is a tutor at the camp which runs over three days and culminates in a performance night which involves over 100 students from all of the Primary and Secondary schools in the area. Sam organises the School Band which rehearses outside of normal school hours each week and Robyn is involved with the Sapphire Coast Learning Community Concert Band which performs outside of school hours. Students at EMHS enjoy being in Robyn and Sam's classes and we always have elective classes in Years 9, 10, 11 and 12, which for a small rural remote school is quite an achievement and our HSC students achieve excellent results. Robyn and Sam always go beyond what is required of them in the classroom and are always looking out for opportunities for our students to be able to perform, even though it means extra work for them outside of school hours, which they are always happy to do and never complain!

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Ambrose Nicholls-Skene
NT Music School, NT

Ambrose Nicholls-Skene is a classroom music educator at the NT Music School, specialising in instrumental and ensemble teaching. During 2017 Ambrose has been involved in the Katherine Beat Festival as choir director and Darwin Beat Festival as coach of the lead vocalists and host. Ambrose’s students performed to an audience of over 2,700 across three nights, having participated in a structured lesson program including stagecraft, vocal technique, movement and anxiety management. In supporting the Katherine School of the Air students, he taught lessons over IDL, where students lived distances of many hundreds of kilometres from the regional centre. In working across curriculum areas, Ambrose incorporated programmable Sphero devices (STEAM teaching tool) in the performing arts Beat Festival giving schools a different perspective of how to engage students across a range of curriculum areas.

Ambrose’s classroom teaching uses an inclusive ensemble model, creating group activities and instrument ensembles resulting in performance opportunities for students. Currently Ambrose is studying special education units, developing and implementing a program incorporating fine and gross motor skills in percussion and ukulele, leading to a student performance outcome participating in the Music Count Us In program. As Vice-President of ASME NT chapter, Ambrose is committed to the ongoing professional development of teachers in the NT through facilitating events and professional networks. 

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