I travelled back in time to my childhood, through a Julie Wylie workshop at the VOSA (Victorian Orff Schulwerk Assoc) annual conference. And I loved it!
Through my endeavours to find quality music for my music classes I had come across Julie Wylie on iTunes. The songs were always soft and instructional and perfect for teaching music for music purposes. So I was super excited to be involved in a Workshop Julie was conducting. As soon as the session started this fairy like lady wafted around the room singing a little tune to gather all the adults into a circle. We all abided her gentle ways and it seemed initially as though she was singing for herself. But I was wrong, there was a plan, and a very deliberate plan and we were all transported back to being 3 years old and participating in a Julie Wylie music class.
Julie is an Interntaional Childrens Award winner for her album “Bop it in a Rocket” and graciously agreed to be interviewed and she shared her inspiration for teaching music. As a child Julie was influenced by a cousin who was a Concert Pianist and a musical Kinder teacher who instilled musical confidence. She has had music in her life forever.
She tells a story of when she was a Highschool teacher and noticed so many children couldn’t keep a steady beat or sing in tune and taught a program with a group of troubled teens. she would listen to their music (Heavy Metal) and analyse it with them. A student admitted that listening to their style of music made him feel anxious. Being a great teacher she made a trade off by asking them to listen to her music such as Beethoven Pastoral Symphony and the children were encouraged to listen and analyse. The result was the “most musical and moving things she has every seen.” The boys made their own instruments and performed music and re-enacted Beethovens character and turned their attitude and life around.
Julie is equally passionate about her work with The Champion Centre in Christchurch, which is an early intervention program for infants and young children with disabilities, which Julie was asked to set up 23 years ago. As a Highschool teacher she had to unlearn and relearn and with her Music therapy background with Nordoff Robbins has become a leader in this field. You can read more about it here The Champion Centre
Julie’s approaches her music classes with an overall plan to teach music elements, but not with a structured lesson plan as she allows and encourages the children to direct the music lesson. Althoug every class involves Nursery rhymes around the rainbow ring and a Hello song based on the 5 note scale. But, the magic happens in the last 15 minutes of the class where they have access to organza, drums, chime bars and their imagination. Children are encouraged to improvise and compose their own music after being immersed in a musical playground.
So inspired by children’s musical ability, she played me a song she recorded that was composed by a young child in her music class and played on the Chime bars and was truly beautiful.
Julie’s style is a blend of music education and music therapy, as she wants music to reach and touch and build relationships. She is coming from the world of the child, listening and watching the children to effectively communicate through music. The most important element to this approach is that children feel her love and at the end of the session they come and give her cuddles.
I learnt so much from meeting Julie Wylie, and being in her presence. It was evident she truly loves her work and loves children. If you haven’t experienced Julie Wylie’s music you must check out her website.Julie Wylie and do yourself and your children a BIG BIG Favour!