CJ Shaw nominated for ARIA Music Teacher Award

From teaching kids their times tables and homophones through rap songs, to scientific concepts on expanding matter explained through song, music teacher CJ Shaw is inspiring the next generation to love music and learning.

This work has seen the former Glenbrook man nominated for an ARIA Music Teacher Award.

Christopher James (better known as CJ) Shaw, is one of just four nominees, with the winner announced on November 25.

The son of teachers Marion and Graham Shaw, Mr Shaw attended Glenbrook Public and Blaxland High School, before moving to Sydney for an arts degree, and then spending a decade as a touring musician.

His year 4 teacher and folk singer Jim Low, was an early inspiration.

"I saw it in real life how education and music can co-exist," Mr Shaw said.

His first performance was at the Blue Tongue Lizard Cafe (now Kickaboom) in Glenbrook, the venue "packed out".

"It was a big sense of achievement," Mr Shaw said.

He went on to record three albums in the Blue Mountains in his distinctly Australian style, influenced by Paul Kelly and Slim Dusty.

But the call of teaching and the lure of more stable and secure employment, prompted him to explore the family trade and he's been teaching music at a primary school in Canberra for the past four years.

"Music and education are such good partners - you can teach anything you want through music," Mr Shaw said.

He written scores of songs, including a "times tables rap", a homophone rap, behaviour song and a song that explains scientific concepts of expanding matter.

In 2018 he wrote Anzac Biscuits, a song which explains the complexities of war, and early this year recorded it with his Palmerston District Primary students and made a video, which was picked up by the Australian War Memorial.

Never short on ideas, if the 39 year old is ever after new material he just looks at the education curriculum.

He says every primary school should have access to instruments and music teachers.

"It instills a confidence. You don't have to be a Guy Sebastian. They might strum along to a C. It's rewarding to watch that in their eyes," Mr Shaw said.

The ARIA awards will be presented on November 25 without an audience. The other three nominees are Sarah Donnelley from Wilcannia Central School in Wilcannia, Thomas Fienberg from Evans High School in Blacktown and Kathryn McLennan from Virginia State School in Virginia, Queensland.

Mr Shaw heard he was a nominee for the ARIA Music Teacher Award when he received a video call from ARIA Award ambassador Jimmy Barnes, into his classroom at Palmerston District Primary School.

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