2019 nominees: Jane Egan, Duncan Ferguson and Sue Banham

Finalists announced for New Zealand Music Teacher of the Year Tui

The three finalists for the second annual Music Teacher of the Year | Kaiārahi Puoro o te Tau Tui, are each being recognised for their incredible impact on their students and the local community.

For the second year in a row, Jane Egan from Gisborne Girls High School and Music Learning Centre Ltd is a finalist, alongside Duncan Ferguson from St Andrews College in Christchurch and Sue Banham from Rosehill College in Papakura, Auckland. These three finalists were selected from 200 nominations received for 76 individual Music Teachers/Mentors across Aotearoa.

Recorded Music New Zealand CEO Damian Vaughan said it is a privilege to celebrate Aotearoa’s top music teachers and the significant impact they have on so many New Zealanders.

“For the second year we have reviewed the incredible work of the best music teachers in Aotearoa. The guidance they give our rangatahi on their creative journeys can’t be overstated, it’s one of the main reasons our music industry is thriving,” said Vaughan.

“Amongst hundreds of deserving candidates, Jane, Duncan and Sue stood out as teachers really making a difference in their local communities. Recorded Music NZ is proud to be presenting one of these amazing people with a Tui this November.”

Transforming Through Music

Nominated for her second year in a row, Jane Egan has certainly made an impact on hundreds of children’s lives as Head of Department at Gisborne Girls High School.

She believes in the magic of the music room, where students transform from shy and insecure to flourishing individuals – passionate and confident in their ability to compose and play music.

This year, Gisborne Girls High School is again home to two choirs, a combined-schools orchestra and six chamber groups, as well as 12 Rockquest bands and 15 entries in the Rockquest Solo/Duo competition.

“I encourage students to try everything – just because they have never written a song before doesn’t mean they can’t. Just because they haven’t ever heard their voice recorded doesn’t mean they can’t sing,” said Jane.

“Finding what makes a student tick is really about building positive relationships with them, about being patient and listening. This is not always easy but if we are asking students to show tolerance and perseverance, we have to role model this too.”

Bustling Curricular and Co-Curricular Activity

Duncan Ferguson is the Head of Music at St Andrew’s College in Christchurch, where he manages 30 co-curricular groups across all genres of music from orchestra and chamber music to jazz, rock and electronica.

More than 140 students are involved in these groups, which he fosters in the local community. In the classroom Duncan redesigns his courses annually to maximise student motivation and engagement.

“My students are not allowed to ask “what do I need to do to get excellence?”. We are always looking at where they are at as performers, composers, producers, musicologists and what do they need to do to get better,” said Duncan.

His students have strong representation in national competitions. Under Duncan’s stewardship, rock groups have flourished at the school, with ten band’s entering in this year’s Rockquest (the most of any Christchurch school).

The orchestral programme at St Andrew’s is equally as strong, numbering around 60 students a year. There are six groups entered into this year’s Chamber Music Competition, and last year the school made regional finals at the event.

“We are not just a classical school, or a rock school, or a technology school, we are all of those and so much more,” said Duncan.

International Aspirations

Since becoming Head of Department for music at Rosehill College, Sue Banham has worked with students from Year 9 to Year 13 on their musical journey.

Over the past 14 years, Sue has worked with students to organise ‘Concert Music Tours’, where they performed in schools, churches, and public venues – connecting with musicians in other parts of the world and forging lifetime memories.

On top of travelling the North Island and South Island, Sue has toured with her students through Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Argentina. She even had a group perform on the Great Wall of China.

“I want to continue to enable students to experience the fulfilment as a musician feels when contributing to the overall sound of a band,” said Sue.

“I strongly believe that students need to have a place at school where they feel they belong and can be accepted for who they are. I am committed to providing students with ensembles to which they can belong and feel the sense of family.”

The 2019 Music Teacher of the Year will be announced in November at the VNZMA Artisan Awards, held at Massey University in Wellington The winner will be celebrated again at the 2019 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards | Nga Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa on 14 November. Viewers can watch the show live on THREE or purchase tickets from Ticketmaster.