Meet the Team

Julie Wylie - Director
Mus.B (Hons. 1st class),B.A. A.T.C.L Dip Tchg. A.I.R.M.T.N.Z. Julie Wylie founded the New Zealand Musical Parenting Association twenty two years ago. She is the founder of the music programme and senior music specialist at the Champion Centre, at Burwood Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand. Julie has been invited to many countries to present music workshops and papers including Korea, Japan, Singapore, Australia, UK, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland. She has received awards for her music leadership and her music resources have won international awards. Julie also has her own music school for mothers and babies and children 0-8 years.
Louise Van Tongeren - Co-Director
Helen Powell - Administrator
Helen has a background in teaching, training and facilitation, and while working in primary schools she led school choirs and ukulele groups. However, it is her organisational bent that is to the fore in this current role. She is the first point of contact for most families wanting to join our classes, provides ongoing email support, prepares class lists and keeps records for the team. She is also administrator for Music Education Canterbury. Helen has always loved music and dance; she has sung in choirs and music groups for most of her life, and was a ballet dancer and teacher for many years. While bringing up their four children, Helen and her husband made sure they had plenty of opportunities to experience, enjoy and learn music, and as adults they are all still performing and/or teaching music in various capacities. She is now enjoying seeing her young grandchildren being brought up to love music and enjoy the benefits of Julie’s work.
Sarah Marra - Musical Play Tutor
Sarah began her career in music with Julie Wylie in 2008 as a Paediatric Music Specialist Student at The Champion Centre. During this year she also graduated from the Christchurch Jazz School with a Bachelor of Music, with a major in Vocal Performance, Psychology, Arranging and Composition. In 2009. Sarah became a part of Julie Wylie's team in teaching children's music classes at the Christchurch School of Music and in the Christchurch community, as well as working alongside Julie taking workshops. Sarah earned a position at The Champion Centre as a Paediatric Music Specialist in 2009, where she has worked with many children with varying challenges and their families. Currently, Sarah is teaching singing in Primary Schools around Christchurch and privately at her home music studio. Recently she has extended this work into her own business, Gatvox Music, which works alongside Primary School's Music Departments to ensure that they are getting the best itinerant music teachers for their students. Performing is a big part of Sarah's life. She gigs regularly in a duo called Ethereal and in a corporate function 10-piece band called Collector's Edition. Her most important achievement to date is becoming a proud mother in July of 2012 to a beautiful baby boy.
Michal Bush - Musical Play Tutor
Michal has had a love affair with music ever since she was a little girl. Before giving birth to her beautiful daughter Harper in 2012, Michal spent years performing in a variety of bands and music groups which saw her travel the country. In 2008 she opened a 'Rock School' for teenagers before managing Christchurch theatre company 'New Zealand Playhouse'. Michal is passionate about songwriting having written and recorded two albums with her band 'The Willow Page' and now is very excited to be working on her first Childrens Album with her Duo 'Petite Music Box'.
Liz Townshend - Musical Play Tutor
Liz has loved music all of her life. She began playing the violin at five and the piano not long after. Liz had many years of orchestral playing and singing in choirs, so it was only natural that when she became a Primary school teacher, she was responsible for the music curriculum and for teaching the school orchestra and choir. Liz has also directed an adult choir and taught violin, piano and music theory privately. She has three children, and each of them has attended Julie Wylie Music. Currently, Liz is employed by the Champion Centre one day a week supporting parents in early communication with sign language. Liz brings this knowledge and experience into her teaching with Julie.
Cindy Backhouse - Musical Play Tutor
Cindy has a Bachelor of Education degree and a Dip. Tchg. ECE and Primary. She has taught in the primary and early childhood sectors in a variety of learning environments. During her teacher training, Julie Wylie’s book, music philosophy and music resources were a part of the teacher training programme. As well as her teaching experience, Cindy brought her two children to Julie Wylie’s music classes, gaining understanding and appreciation of the value of music as she watched her children develop a strong sense of musicality from a very early age. Music has played a huge part in her parenting style from soothing her babies, singing instructions in daily routines and enjoying the delights of family musical play. Currently Cindy is involved with two voluntary organisations, one of which is conducting a playgroup. Having taught in both Early Childhood and primary schools and being involved in music classes for several years, Cindy brings a wealth of knowledge about education, musical play and nurturing to Julie Wylie Musical Play classes.
Clare Newton - Events and Marketing
Clare began her study at the University of Canterbury, finishing with a Bachelor of Music (Education) and a Bachelor of Arts (Art History) in 2006. She then went on to complete her graduate diploma of primary teaching at NZGSE. After teaching for a short while, Clare decided to further her education by completing a graduate diploma in event management from the CPIT in 2008. In 2009 Clare worked as the events coordinator for the Christchurch Libraries, where she organised, promoted, and ran a variety of events for the 19 libraries in the Christchurch Council area. Clare has been busy over the past few years creating and growing her most precious works of art to date - Miriam (3 1/2 years) and Esther (2 1/2 years). She has decided to return to work with Julie, as her combined passion for music, teaching and event management seems a perfect match and exciting venture at the ideal time!
Jan-Maree Baughan - Musical Play Tutor and Auckland-Based Director
LTCL Singing (distinction) 2007 NZ Registered Nurse 1995. Jan-Maree met Julie through her daughter Chloe who attended her music classes when Chloe was only 15 months old. It was then that she gained an absolute love and passion for Julie’s music and philosophy. Right from a very early age, Jan-Maree has performed on stage and been involved with music, drama and dance and knows what benefits these brings to our children. She moved to the North Shore with her family in 2011. Since that time she has watched Chloe and her older son Nicholas grow up with Julie’s music and seen the benefits. She has extended her own work as a professional Soprano soloist throughout Auckland including working with several Choirs in Christchurch, the North Shore and with the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus, NBR New Zealand Opera. As well as teaching her private students, she is the Vocal Tutor for “Bays School of dance” and is the Female Vocalist for "The Kilmarnock Edition". Jan-Maree also works as a part time Practice Nurse specializing in Paediatric primary care. She is delighted to be representing Julie Wylie Music as Director in Auckland.
Michael Bell - Music Producer
Michael has been recording on Julie's albums since 1999 (when he was 12 years old) and has been arranging, producing, recording, and website-ing with Julie since 2005. He holds a MusB, runs a recording studio called Orange Studio and a touring theatre company for children and teenagers called New Zealand Playhouse.