Readings, Film Clips & Podcasts


A TED Talk by Anita Collins – “What if Every Child had Access to Music Education from Birth?”

When one to three day old babies were hooked up to MRI machines, the neuroscientists found they “were using their music processing networks to understand their mothers’ voices. Literally they were hearing music in their mothers’ voices…At birth we need our music processing to understand language. At birth we are musical”.

A child’s brain develops faster with exposure to music education

“Music and the Brain” – An article from the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center

“The Neuroscience of Musical Play” by Julie Wylie


Our work in Musical Play is based on our experience and understanding of neurological development. Dr Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Model below shows how the brain is hierarchically organised from the bottom to the top.

“The Impact of Actively Making Music on The Intellectual, Social and Personal Development of Children and Young People” by Susan Hallam

“The Love of Special Companions and the Importance of Play: What is Being Human and How Can It Thrive” by Professor Colwyn Trevarthen, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh.

This article by Miriam McCaleb about brain development in babies includes some lovely “ideas for being with baby”. Of course, singing is one of them!

“How Brains are Built: The Core Story of Brain Development” – Singing, and playing simple games like peek-a-boo, are wonderful ways to enjoy the “serve and return” interactions that help young children to thrive. Musical Play is a fabulous way to build strong brain architecture!


“The Process of Serve and Return” – An interview with Professor Phil Fisher, an expert in children’s neurobiological and psychological development.

Music, the Brain and Wellbeing
Sound Arts, The Menza Magazine
Pages 13, 14, Volume 3, Number 1, February 2007

A TED talk by Annie Murphy Paul – “What We Learn Before We’re Born”

“Music in Utero: The Smile of the Unborn”

“The Benefits of Singing to Babies” – An interview with Dr Shannon de L’Etoile, Professor of Music Therapy at the University of Miami.

“Singing ‘speeds up’ recovery from post-natal depression”Music is a language of the emotions that facilitates connection and bonding between parent and child. A study of mothers with post-natal depression, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, has found “that women who took part in group singing sessions with their babies experienced a much faster improvement in their symptoms than those who did not.

“How you Talk to your Child Changes their Brain” by Sophie Hardach, World Economic Forum – A key ingredient in Musical Play is relationship based turn taking in conversations between parent and child, with much use of facial expression, eye contact and interest in what the child has to sing or say, helping them to feel confident and valued as a communicator from birth.

“Music with 0-4: Just Fun, Music Education or Even More?” by Margré van Gestel, Music pedagogue and Specialist Infant Mental Health, the Netherlands, and ISME Board member

“Music Lessons Were the Best Thing Your Parents Ever Did for You, According to Science” by Tom Barnes


Nathan Wallis: What 3 – 7 Year Olds Need to Learn

“Why Your Child Can’t Write His Name Yet” – The Anonymous OT

Why Your Child Can’t Write His Name Yet


“Musical Play with Babies and Young Children”
Julie Wylie
MANZ Magazine April 15th 2015

When Should Babies Start Music?

Creativity Begins in the Cradle
Sound Arts, The Menza Magazine. Making Education Through Music.
Page 13, Volume 1, Number 3, October 2006

The Universality of Musical Play
Julie Wylie

Music for Infants and Toddlers
The First Years: Nga Tau Tuatahi. New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education.
Page 10, Volume 6, Issue 1 2004

Spontaneous Singing and Young Children’s Musical Agency – Dr Bronya Dean, University of Exeter

Steven Johnson: How play leads to great inventions

Biography of ISME Member Sheila Woodward

Why Establish Musical Parenting
Sound Ideas July/August 1999 Volume 3 no.1 pages 21-26 also a new addition.

Red Cross Emergency Song by Julie Wylie

A Finnish book, with a chapter written by Julie Wylie. Published in Finland.


This film clip includes beautiful footage of children drawing, dancing and interacting as they listen to Baroque music, such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. As the narrator on the film clip says, “Neuroscience research suggests Baroque music slows down the heart beat and tunes the brain to the alpha state, where both halves of the brain are accessed equally. Regular exposure to Baroque music can positively affect development of the brain.”


Musical Play as Therapy in an Early Intervention Programme
Julie Wylie & Susan Foster-Cohen
Approaches: Music Therapy & Special Music Education 2013

“Music, music therapy, musical play and the role of music in the lives of children and adults with Down syndrome”

“My son’s Down’s syndrome does not define him”

Building Bridges through Music
Sound Ideas Nurturing through Music April 2000 Volume 3 no.3 pages 12-14

Music is the Key
Sound Ideas, November 1998 Volume 2 no.2 pages42-45

‘Sensory Processing Issues Explained’
Child Mind Institute (Author: Beth Arky)

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders:
“Cognitive Abilities: A different way of thinking and learning profile; and Managing Challenging Behaviour in Children with Autism.” Dr Tony Attwood.

Dinosnores – helping children be their very best!


“Music and Movement – Instrumental in Language Development”
Early Childhood News

The Importance of Prenatal Sound and Music

“The Importance of Keeping a Beat: Researchers Link Ability to Keep a Beat to Reading, Language Skills”


Understanding Anxiety in Children – This is an informative article about what’s happening in the brain and body of a child who is feeling anxious. The author Karen Young has also written a picture book called “Hey Warrior” to help children “understand anxiety and to find their ‘brave’. It explains why anxiety feels the way it does, and [teaches] them how they can ‘be the boss of their brains’ during anxiety, to feel calm.”

Anxiety in Children: A Metaphor to Put You In Their Shoes (And Right Beside Them)


Babies and young children are most responsive to their parents’ voices, so when parents get a feel for slow, soothing resting heart beat rhythm, they can sing in a soft, soothing voice and gently rock their child to sleep, using deep pressure stroking. Using a song in 3/4 time, such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and changing the words to “ Rock, rock, rock with me, gently side to side, rock with me, rock with me, gently side to side” really helps, especially if you keep repeating the song. See more at

“Music For Dreaming”(email is a brilliant sleep recording by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra set at a 3/4 regular heart beat rhythm. This is the traditional time signature for lullabies. It was developed by Cherie Ross, a Psychologist in Melbourne. Calming nursery rhymes and lullabies are played in a seamless, constant flow of music, which calms and regulates the lower brain.

Julie Wylie’s “Rock A Bye Blues” CD features beautiful traditional and original lullabies starting from a higher arousal level, going  down to calm settling songs, which is great for matching children’s energy levels.

Clinical Psychologist Clare Tatterson specialises in child development and behaviour. For further information go to her website:


Dearest Julie, Today you are celebrating 25 years of Julie Wylie Music in the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral with a Christmas Concert for Early Childhood. Even though we are in Canberra, Australia I want to acknowledge the profound influence your work has had on our work. Every time I go into an early childhood setting there you are on my shoulder as a major mentor, smiling that beaming smile and advocating on behalf of following the child and play-based learning, moment by moment making magical, musical connections. Spending time with you in the Champion Centre some time ago observing your work was a huge privilege. Hearing you articulate the basis of your own philosophy, your own story, your understanding of neuroscience and music, and your passion for music-making has been nothing short of inspiring. We stand on your shoulders to share the gift of music with many other children and their families here in Canberra. Today we honour your enormous contribution and carry your energy in our hearts and into every musical interaction. I hope today many other also acknowledge your enormous contribution in the field of early childhood musical play and music therapy.

Love, Emma & all at Rocking Horse Music, Canberra, Australia xxxxxxxxxxxx

Rocking Horse Music, Canberra, Australia
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