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Music is a Shaw thing at Palmerston District Primary School

06 Nov 2020

CJ with Students

CJ Shaw is a talented songwriter, and music teacher at Palmerston District Primary School, who has been nominated for the prestigious ARIA Telstra Music Teacher of the Year Award.

Throughout CJ’s career as a teacher, he has always incorporated music as a tool in the classroom to enhance learning and keep students engaged. His musical repertoire encompasses all subjects, and he’s written songs from the Timetables Rap to The Homophone Wrap.

“When I was a classroom teacher nothing in the curriculum was untouched by music. Science, maths, history and English would all be learned through song. Now that I’m a specialist music teacher, my goal is to give the students an understanding of composition, recording and musicality to apply to their own education and development.

“Teaching maths and English through music is like feeding your kid broccoli: if you just give them the broccoli, they’re not going to want to eat it - but music adds a little sauce on top and maybe some cheese and they love it!” CJ said.

Earlier this year, ANZAC Biscuits External Link, a song written by CJ and performed by a class of Palmerston students, was picked up by the Australian War Memorial and broadcast on ABC Radio Canberra. CJ wrote the song to help children understand the complexities of war, and its popularity across the ACT was an amazing achievement both for CJ and the school community.

CJ loves his job and feels immensely grateful that he’s been able to find a career that unites his two greatest passions in life: teaching and music.

“Teaching is filled with creativity and that’s why I love it. I love that from the moment I get to school to the moment I clock off there’s a ukulele, drum or guitar in my hand. It’s fulfilling on all the levels that I hold dear. I’m very lucky and I look forward to coming to work every day.”

CJ feels truly honoured to have received this nomination and hopes that the Awards continue to shed light on the importance of music in education.

“The ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award, which is also sponsored by NGO The Song Room, is a great way to celebrate the importance of music in our schools and draw attention to the fact that so many primary students across Australia don’t have access to music lessons.

“Music is a great tool; it’s been used for thousands of years and has a proven ability to improve students’ attendance, cognitive development and more. So often we see powerful examples of students who feel disengaged; they don’t want to come to school but, when they find music, suddenly they are here all the time, and some even want to stay after the bell!” CJ said.

Voting for the ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award closes soon. You can vote for CJ at ARIA website External Link.