A Gunnedah teacher is singing a sweet tune after being nominated for the music industry's most prestigious gongs - an ARIA award.
Julia Rennick was selected from hundreds of applicants as one of four nominees for the Music Teacher of the Year award to be announced in Sydney on November 27.
Having worked for the Gunnedah Conservatorium for more than 20 years, Ms Rennick was honoured for her commitment to develop, refine and deliver an early childhood music program to thousands of local children.
She currently teaches 80 children a week at the Conservatorium along with weekly music lessons at the Gunnedah Public School and mentoring other teachers in rural communities.
Nominees are commonly from secondary schools or in bigger regions so Ms Rennick said it was excellent to see a country town recognised that had such an appreciation of the arts.
Her lessons teach children to focus and improve their listening skills.
"Children today are so visual because everything is visual so it's about encouraging active listening," she said.
"We sing, we dance, we dramatize, we do nursery rhymes or little tales and we play instruments.
"I've been to places where instruments are left on the shelf; they are there to be used. Children need to learn to respect them and work out themselves how to play them.
"Essentially I am teaching music because I want children to create their own music, to be critical thinkers, to be creative humans.
"Some people think it's the dumb down version of music but it's not because you can't try to fool them."
Ms Rennick's nomination was announced by Emma Wiggle who visited the small town recently.
To vote for Ms Rennick visit ariamusicteacheraward.com.au by November 20.