Wodonga Music Teacher Aaron Silver, 2021 Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Competition Finalist | Examiner


Music was already a big hit in distance learning at Wodonga Elementary School on the NSW-Victorian border, then pop superstar Tones and I arrived. Australian singer-songwriter Toni Watson had just told Professor Aaron Silver that he was one of four finalists for the 2021 Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award. “She’s an ARIA Ambassador… I had no idea it would be her, so that was a big shock, ”Mr. Silver said. “I told the kids that there would be a special guest in class, she appeared and the kids went crazy.” Tones and I praised the musician-turned-teacher for his innovation and “daddy jokes”. “He keeps it, he keeps it fresh and he keeps it new – and I think the kids are really lucky to have him,” she said. Mr. Silver, who trained as a trumpet, teaches music to 42 classes at Wodonga Primary School and submitted videos of his lessons to the competition earlier this year. “I don’t know who gave that first pat on the shoulder; I got an email saying I had been put forward,” he said. “It’s quite funny to receive a message from the general manager of the ARIAs. “I wanted to celebrate teachers and raise awareness about music education. “Something like three out of four students in Australia don’t have music in their school, which is hard to know as a music teacher and see what a difference that makes for a school.” Mr Silver, originally from Melbourne, has worked in Wodonga for six years and when distance learning started he became a student himself again. IN OTHER NEWS: “It started with just me experimenting… I learned to use GarageBand and iMovie,” he said. “Zoom has added all of these new features and you can use PowerPoint presentations as a virtual background.” People may not have instruments, or they have parents who work full time, so a lot what I did was use found objects or just involve watching and maintaining their interest in music. “The appointment is a big boost for morale at a difficult time.“ Every teacher absolutely worked hard to try and keep the kids engaged. ”Principal Damian Duncan said the music lessons had created joy for families in lockdown. “Mr. Silver’s online classes broke all our social media and online records thanks to the number of visits,” he said. “We received feedback from everyone in our community that they were attending their child’s music class online that week. “Mr. Silver is a valuable asset to Wodonga and we couldn’t imagine the place here without him.” Voting on www.aria.com.au/vote ends on November 17 at midnight.


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