GRANT High School music teacher Scott Maxwell flew home to Mount Gambier yesterday after a whirlwind trip to Sydney where he was honoured at Australia’s most prestigious music industry awards, taking out the ARIA for Music Teacher of the Year.
The award celebrates the influence of music educators and showcases the dedication and hard work that goes into teaching young people to play and love music.
Rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in the Australian music industry, Mr Maxwell described the experience as “surreal”.
“It was such a magnificent production, the performances were completely amazing and blew me away,” he told The Border Watch yesterday.
“To be recognised at the 2018 ARIAS in particular was an amazing honour given the calibre of the performers there.”
Pop band Sheppard presented the coveted ARIA trophy to Mr Maxwell at a cocktail party before the main event.
“Often these awards are not shown on the television broadcast so I was really excited to have a short interview with Richard Wilkins shown on TV,” he said.
“I was congratulated by industry people all night and to be acknowledged by that crew was very humbling and showed how valued the award is within the industry.”
Mr Maxwell thanked the Mount Gambier community for supporting his campaign and acknowledged his long-time collaborator Mike Bakker.
The Grant High School duo have eschewed the school musical status quo, instead creating and scoring original productions exploring present day themes.
“I need to give a big shout out to my creative colleague Mike,” Mr Maxwell said.
“We work really closely together and we connect on a different level – to be able to bounce ideas off him is a joy.
“He is such a passionate guy and writes amazing scripts, allowing me to write music to accompany those scripts.
“He is for sure part of the reason I was nominated.
“A huge thank you to the Mount Gambier community for getting behind the campaign and really supporting me – this win is so positive for the region and for South Australia.”
He added the award highlighted the importance of music education.
“Teaching music allows kids to understand who they are and allows them to tell their stories,” he said.
“Kasey Chambers speech really resonated with me – all anyone needs to be is themselves.”