ASME Teaching Award for Excellence in Indigenous Music Education


At the National Executive and Council meeting held prior to the XXIst ASME National Conference in 2017, a proposal to honour and acknowledge music educators in First Nation and Indigenous Community settings was presented by Immediate Past President Dr Brad Merrick and accepted unanimously. The ASME Teaching Award for Excellence in Indigenous Music Education was announced publicly at the awards ceremony to all delegates on the last day of the 2017 conference. This award is to be supported financially by ASME National and the inaugural award was presented to highly acclaimed singer-songwriter Shellie Morris, from the Northern Territory during the ASME XXII Conference in Perth, 2019.  In ASME Update (published in December, 2019) Shellie Morris wrote: “I’ve worked in more than 70 remote Australian communities in my career, I’ve learnt to sing in more than 17 Aboriginal languages – many of which are considered “sleeping” or close to extinction. First Nations cultures have always used the arts as the main way of communicating over the ages, as an education tool for kids’ learning, lore, law, inter-tribal communication and imparting social mores. I’m continuing this.” (Shellie Morris)


This Award aims to recognise music educators in First Nation and Indigenous Community settings through their exceptional efforts in the provision of quality music education. The award seeks to enable further professional growth through attendance at the ASME National Conference where there will be opportunities to share their experiences and to access current thinking, professional practice, and resources.

The purpose of this award would be to support attendance and resources to selected recipients, the first winner/s being acknowledged in person at the XXII Conference. The award in total will amount to a maximum value of $2500.00.

This may include

  • Support for travel, attendance, and accommodation at the conference (with possible presentation of a teaching workshop, in combination with acknowledging the award publicly with other chapter- based teaching awards), and if additional monies are still available;
  • Possible support for the purchase of teaching resources/or access to an additional PD opportunity – as part of the $2500 allocation for the total award; and
  • This $2500 amount may be split between two recipients if the National Executive wish to acknowledge more than one teacher (with an allocation of $1250 each if two recipients).

Applicants must either complete this form themselves and include comments from other referees. Alternately, this form may be filled in by an external work colleague and submitted. It is important that the designated person is aware that they have been nominated for the award.

Applications are due 3 months before the next ASME National Conference.

Either – Post to: ASME Indigenous Award, PO Box 7184, West Lakes SA 5021.

Or – email

Click here to download the nomination/application form for ASME’s National Teaching Award For Excellence In Indigenous Music Education