For over thirty years, Julie Wylie has been working with children and families, students, teachers, and therapists, and developing her philosophy of Musical Play and Musical Play Therapy. In 2018, Julie was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit MNZM for her services to Music Education and Musical Play Therapy.
Musical play helps lay the foundation of love and a secure relationship between mother and child from the beginning of life. Because music is a language of the emotions, reciprocal musical play activities helps parent and child to tune into each other, to move and play in synch, thus providing joint regulation.
Musical play is instantly accessible and is a sophisticated means for listening, expression, communication and loving interaction.
Musical play involves listening, singing, saying, moving and playing together at home, in the car, or anywhere. Musical play fine tunes children’s brains and minds to emotional, physical, social and intellectual learning.
We develop a sense of self and self-expression through reciprocal musical play. We learn to relate and communicate with others. The parent begins by waiting, watching, listening and echoing the sounds her baby gives her. This turn taking through the joint babbling games in this musical play helps develop a strong sense of togetherness and love.
The simplest nursery rhyme contains many musical elements such as pulse/beat, timing, melody/tune, dynamics/loud and soft, pauses, phrasing, form/ beginning, middle and end. As parents and children regularly share a repertoire of nursery rhymes and songs, this repertoire becomes a part of the child’s own musical expression and language. Children learn about the elements of music and how and why music works in relation to their brains and bodies. As they explore a range of sensory musical experiences, musical play becomes a vital part of the child’s own form of expression and communication. They begin to add their own words to familiar songs.
Play gives meaning to everyday tasks and routines. All children can develop their strengths and talents through musical play. A nurturing, playful environment is all important to the development of creativity, musicality and holistic learning. Music becomes an organizing factor, helping children to listen, anticipate, remember and follow the beginning, middle and end of a sung instruction.
Within Julie Wylie’s Musical Play classes for mothers and babies and children 0-8 years the emphasis is on developing a sense of music community. The parents enjoy observing their child and others confidently take the lead and learn to respond musically. They become increasingly confident observers and players. The music groups give permission to play. Such play celebrates childhood and helps parents to enjoy mutually pleasurable, reciprocal play with their babies and young children. Parents learn many music strategies for making daily routines at home simple, predictable and pleasurable. These parents gain confidence, a sense of freedom and connection to their child, as well as discovering the joys of a childlike sense of playfulness.
Use of instructional songs helps children to modulate from one activity to another. When we listen, follow and validate the child through musical play, children begin to create their own songs, games and music activities, taking pride in being the leader and structuring their world through musical play.