About Us

The Julie Wylie Institute of Musical Play is building the foundation of music for life.
Based in Christchurch, New Zealand, we extend our reach all over the world to train and inspire teachers, therapists, organisations, parents and professionals in the art, science & psychology of Musical Play in early childhood and special education. 
music therapy online training

Where did musical play come from?


"My philosophy of Musical Play has evolved and developed from continuing to listen to, watch, wait and follow the child as leader through musical exploration that supports the  parent and child through relationship based, synchronous  musical play. Children are born musical and music is their first language.


Over all the years of playing with children, including my own, I continue to be inspired and to learn from the children. 


Musical Play as Therapy is a blend of Music Therapy, Music Education and Musical Play techniques that are used to structure and validate the child’s offerings and to bring parent and child together through joyful, synchronous music exploration and play. It draws from research in Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, Sensory Development, Music Education and Music Therapy. Musical Play has strong parallels in Art Therapy, Play Therapy and Dance Therapy.. Musical Play draws all the elements of the Arts together in meaningful ways.

I started my music career as a HOD music teacher at a high school. I became interested in helping the students who were struggling academically, who had poor self esteem and who really responded to the music programme. I saw first hand how musical play and exploration could change lives.

In 1990 I did  Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy training  with Clive and Carol Robbins. I was totally inspired by the way they worked together to follow the child musically, empowering the child to go beyond the limitations of disability to a place in which they could communicate musically and take joy in being a proud performer. They encouraged me to pursue research and further develop the Musical Play philosophy, with a focus in early childhood rather than music therapy as a whole.

I started writing music for children and families in response to a need for music that was at a child's level. My recorded musical play songs have come from the world of the child and are all composed within the child’s pitch range, paced to develop listening, waiting, anticipating, communication, following the sequences and moving to the predictable musical form.


It is really important that the while the melody has to be memorable and able to be sung by the child, the music  is challenging and inspiring with the best possible arrangements, performance and instrumentation. Some of my best, most popular songs  have been initiated by and sung by children.

I have been further inspired and blessed to receive invitations from conferences, Universities and organisations all over the world to present Musical Play lectures, workshops, papers and to help establish music programmes in a huge variety of organisations and schools.


Seeing Musical Play grow around the world is an absolute highlight." Julie Wylie, 2020.


Meet The Team


Julie Wylie

Founder, Senior Music Specialist & Therapist, Speaker, Author, Composer 


Sarah Marra

Senior Music Specialist, Teacher, Therapist, Parent & Musician


Felicity Herschell

Music Specialist, Teacher, Parent, Musician


Helen Powell

Administrator & Support


Louise Van Tongeren

Music specialist, Content writer, Digital manager, Parent.


Victoria Boyd

Music specialist, Teacher, Parent

The Institute is Endorsed & Supported by

Soili Perkio, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki

Beth Bolton, Temple University, Pennsylvania

Beth Rankin, Melbourne Catholic University

Elizabeth D'Andang'o, Kenyatta University Nairobi, Kenya

Linda Schwart, Child Psychologist, New Zealand

Alex Gosteva, Child and Educational Psychologist, New Zealand

Julie Frew, Occupational Therapist, New Zealand

Judith Bell, Head of Music, Chisnallwood Intermediate, Christchurch

Michelle Wilson, Swannanoa School