• PhD, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • MMEd, University of Kansas
  • BM, University of Melbourne, Australia

Dr. Helen Shoemark completed her training at The University of Melbourne and University of Kansas. She has more than 30 years’ experience as a clinical music therapist. Moving from special education and early intervention into pediatrics, she established the first program in neonatology in Australia at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne in 1996.

As a team leader for Sensory Experience in Early Development at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, her research focused on auditory experience and specifically maternal voice to support infant development in hospital. She was a founding member of the Applied Music and Neuroscience in Paediatrics Group and the founder of the Music and the Neuro-Developmentally At-Risk Infant group (MANDARI) which was an international group of neuroscientists, music therapists, medical professionals, public health experts and parents collaborating to build effective music programs for neurologically at-risk infants. 

Dr. Shoemark is a Senior Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne, and a Visiting Fellow at Monash Healthcare in Melbourne.

Shoemark is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Music Therapy, and has previously been the Editor of the Australian Journal of Music Therapy and Chair of Communications for the International Association for Music and Medicine, overseeing the journal Music and Medicine. She has been national President and served as chair of a number of national committees and convener of the national conference for the Australian Music Therapy Association. 

Since 2019, the Australian Music Therapy Association has given the Helen Shoemark award as an Annual Award “to the best research-based paper presented at the national conference. This award is in honor of Associate Professor Helen Shoemark’s contribution to Australian music therapy as an excellent clinician, mentor, researcher and educator in the field.” 

Current Projects

National Outcomes Measurement for Music Therapy in Hospital Settings. Co-PI. Collaborators: Dr. Anthony Meadows (Shenandoah University), & Prof. Shaban Demirel, Director of Research, Legacy Research Institute (Portland). 2020-ongoing

Music Therapy Private Practice Program and Service Delivery During COVID-19: Client and Therapist Perspectives. Co-PI. Collaborators: Dr. Anthony Meadows, Shenandoah University, & Prof. Wendy Magee, Temple University. 2020-ongoing

Queensland Children’ Hospital - “Time Together” – A music therapy project to enhance and support parent-infant interactions in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Co-PI. Collaborators: Jeanette Kennelly (MT Lead, QCH), Prof Jane Edwards Assoc Dean, Research - Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education, University of New England, Australia. (pre-research). 2020-ongoing

Time together – Protocol training for clinicians – currently online. Contact Dr. Shoemark for dates. 

Creative Arts Therapies Managers’ Network (trans-national knowledge generating group of eight hospitals in the US & Australia). Project Lead.

Works and Publications


Book - Editor

Shoemark, H., & Ettenberger, M. (Eds.). (2020). Music therapy in Neonatal Intensive Care: Influences of Culture. Dallas, TX: Barcelona Publishers. ISBN: 9781945411496

Book – Section Editor

Shoemark, H. & Abad, V. (2021). Section 5.2: Music to address social and medical risk in childhood. [6 chapters] In M. Barrett & G. Welch (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Music Early Learning and Development. Oxford University Press.

Preti, C. & Shoemark, H. (2021). Section 5.1: Music in hospital. [3 chapters]. In M. Barrett & G. Welch (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Music Early Learning and Development. Oxford University Press.

Book – Foreword

Shoemark, H. (in press). Foreword. In G. Thompson. Goal writing approaches for music therapy practice. Jessica Kingsley. 


Meadows, A. Shoemark, H, & Magee, W. (2023). Leadership and teamwork during the COVID-19 pandemic: Experiences of music therapy business leaders. Journal of Music Therapy.

Harman, E. & Shoemark H. (2023). Patterns of toxic stress and trauma for pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT): Creating a model of responsive intervention. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology.

Smith, A., Hagan, J., Walden, M., Brickley, A., Biard, M., Rhee, C., McIver, P., Shoemark, H., Brand, M.C. (2023). The effect of contingent singing on preterm infants with Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia. Journal of Music Therapy, 60(1), 98-119. 

Shoemark, H., Bates, D., Collier, B., Hannan, A., Harman, E., Kennelly, J., Knott, D., Thomas, A., Troyano, A. (2022). Collective experiences in medical music therapy teams during COVID-19. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, Special issue: Online Delivery of Music Therapy, 31(3), 228-243.

Shoemark, H. & Nöcker-Ribaupierre, M. (2021). Growth and identity of music therapy in the NICU: Pioneering perspectives. Music and Medicine, 13(2), 84-90. 

Shoemark, H., Dahlstrøm, M., Bedford, O., & Stewart, L. (2021). The effect of a voice-centered psycho-educational program on maternal self-efficacy: A feasibility study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 18, 2537. 

Shoemark, H. (2019). Returning musicality to parents: Constructing a strategy using maternal voice. International Journal for Birth and Parent Education, 6(2), 29-32. 

Shoemark, H., Rimmer, J., Bower, J., Tucquet, B., Fisher, M., Ogburn, N., Dun, B. (2018). A conceptual framework: The musical self as a unique pathway to outcomes in the acute pediatric health setting. Journal of Music Therapy, 55(1), 1-26.

Shoemark, H. (2018). Time Together: A feasible program to promote parent-infant interaction in the NICU. Music Therapy Perspectives, 36(1), 6–16.   

Morell, L. & Shoemark, H. (2018) An ecological perspective on music programmes for at risk children and their families in Australia. International Journal for Community Music, 11(3), 337-352.

Shoemark, H. (2018). [book review]. Jacobsen, S. L. & Thompson, G. (Eds.). (2017). Music therapy with families: Therapeutic approaches and theoretical perspectives. Australian Journal of Music Therapy. Retrieved from

Shoemark, H. (July 2016). How does music foster intimacy? In Skewes McFerran, K. (Ed.). How Music Can Change Your Life ... and the World: A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). 

Shoemark, H., Harcourt, E., Arnup, S., & Hunt. R. (2016). Characterizing the ambient sound environment for infants in intensive care wards. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 52(4), 436-440. doi:10.1111/jpc.13084. 

Tan E. & Shoemark, H. (2017). Case study: The feasibility of using song to cue expressive language in children with specific language impairment. Music Therapy Perspectives, 35(1), 63-70. doi:10.1093/mtp/miv039. 

Shoemark, H., Hanson-Abromeit, D., & Stewart, L. (2015). Constructing optimal experience for the hospitalized newborn through neuro-based music therapy. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9 (487). doi: 10.3389/fnhum. 2015.00487.

Engelbrecht, R. & Shoemark, H. (2015). The evaluation of musical engagement in dementia: Implications for self-reported Quality of Life. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 26, 52-73. 

Shoemark, H. (2015). Culturally transformed music therapy in the perinatal and paediatric Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: An international report. Music and Medicine,7(2), 34-36. 

Dearn T. & Shoemark H. (2014). The effect of maternal presence on premature infant response to recorded music. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological, and Neonatal Nursing, 43, 341-350. PMID: 24707819.  

Yeung, C., Baker, F. & Shoemark, H. (2014). Song preferences of Chinese older adults living in Australia. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 25, 103-121. 

Shoemark, H. & Arnup, S. (2014).  A survey of how mothers think about and use voice with their hospitalized newborn infant. Journal of Neonatal Nursing, 20,115-121.

McFerran, K. & Shoemark, H. (2013). How musical engagement promotes wellbeing in education contexts: The case of a young main with profound and multiple disabilities. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being, 8, 20570 - 

Bower, J, Catroppa, C., Grocke, D., & Shoemark, H. (2014). Music therapy for early cognitive rehabilitation post childhood TBI: An intrinsic mixed methods case study. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 17, 339-346.  DOI: 10.3109/17518423.2013.778910. IF 1.9. 

Malloch, S., Shoemark, H., Črnčec, R. Newnham, C., Paul, C., Prior, M., Coward, S. & Burnham, D. (2012). Music Therapy with hospitalised infants – the art and science of intersubjectivity, Infant Mental Health Journal; 33(4):386-399. 10.1002/imhj.21346  

Bower, J. & Shoemark, H. (2012). Music therapy for the pediatric patient experiencing agitation during posttraumatic amnesia: Constructing a foundation from theory. Music & Medicine, 4, 146-152.  

Olischar, M., Shoemark, H., Holton, T., Weninger, M., & Hunt, R. (2011). The influence of music on aEEG activity in neurologically healthy newborns >32 weeks’ gestational age. Acta Paediatrica, 100, 670-675. 

Shoemark, H. & Grocke, D. (2010). The markers of interplay between the music therapist and the medically fragile newborn infant. Journal of Music Therapy, 47, 306-334. IF 0.467. 

Bower, J. & Shoemark, H. (2009). Music therapy to promote interpersonal interactions in early paediatric neuro-rehabilitation. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 20, 59-75. 

Shoemark, H. (2009). Sweet Melodies: Combining the Talents and Knowledge of Music Therapy and Elite Musicianship. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. 

Shoemark, H. (2009). Music therapy: An exercise in humanity. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 20 (special edition), 31-44. 

Shoemark, H. & Dearn, T. (2008).  Keeping the family at the centre of family-centred music therapy with hospitalised infants. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 19, 3-24. 

Shoemark, H. (2008). Mapping progress within an individual music therapy session with full-term hospitalized infants. Music Therapy Perspectives, 26(1), 39-46. 

Shoemark, H. (2006). Infant-directed singing as a vehicle for regulation rehearsal in the medically fragile full-term infant. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 17, 54-63. 

Calabro, L., Wolfe, R. & Shoemark, H. (2003).  The effects of recorded sedative music on the physiology and behaviour of premature infants with a respiratory disorder. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 14, 3-19.  

Shoemark, H. (1996). Family-centred early intervention: Music therapy in the playgroup program. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 7, 3-15. 

Book chapters (2011 onward)

Shoemark, H. & Ettenberger, M. (2020). Music therapy in the NICU: Culture as a robust framework. In H. Shoemark & M. Ettenberger (Eds.), Music therapy in Neonatal Intensive Care: Influences of culture. (pp.289-301). Barcelona Publishers. 

Shoemark, H. (2020). The influence of perinatal and pediatric NICUs on music therapy practice and research. (pp.231-246). In H. Shoemark & M. Ettenberger (Eds.), Music therapy in Neonatal Intensive Care: Influences of culture. Barcelona Publishers.

McLean, E., Tucquet, B., & Shoemark, H. (2020). Cultural and contextual influences of Australian music therapy practice in the NICU. In H. Shoemark & M. Ettenberger (Eds.), Music therapy in Neonatal Intensive Care: Influences of culture. (pp.81-102). Barcelona Publishers. 

Sgobbi, B. & Shoemark, H. (2020). Establishing a place for music in the Italian NICU. In H. Shoemark & M. Ettenberger (Eds.), Music therapy in Neonatal Intensive Care: Influences of culture. (pp. 39-56). Barcelona Publishers. 

McCarthy, M. & Shoemark, H. (2020). Infants with cancer: The Oncology Unit as their second home. In W. Bunston & S.J. Jones (Eds.). Supporting Vulnerable Babies and Young Children, How to Work with Complex Challenges, pp.245-261. London: Jessica Kingsley. ISBN-10 1785923706. ISBN-13 978-1785923708 

Dahlstrom, M., Stewart, L., & Shoemark, H. (2020). The potential of the human voice for early parent-infant interactions in medically at-risk newborn populations.  In R. Heydon, D. Fancourt, & A. Cohen (Eds.), Routledge Companion to Interdisciplinary Studies in Singing: Volume III Well-being (pp. 42-49). ISBN 9781138061224. 

Shoemark, H. & Tucquet, B. (2019). Family-centred music therapy for infants with complex medical and surgical needs.  In M. Nocker-Ribaupierre (Ed.). Music therapy for premature and newborn infants (2nd edition). Barcelona Publishing. 

Shoemark, H. (2018). Helen Shoemark. In J. Mahoney (Ed.). The Lives of Prominent Music Therapists. Vol 2.  Barcelona Publishers. 

Shoemark, H. (2017). Empowering parents in singing to hospitalized infants: The role of the music therapist. In M. Filippa, P. Kuhn, B. Westrup (Eds.). Early vocal contact and preterm brain development (pp.205-215). Springer. 

Shoemark, H. & Dearn, T. (201633). Music therapy in the medical care of infants. In J. Edwards (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Music Therapy. London: Oxford University Press.  DOI:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199639755.013.23 

Shoemark, H. & Hanson-Abromeit, D. (2015). Music therapy in the NICU. In B. Wheeler (Ed.) Music Therapy Handbook (pp 415-424). New York: Guilford. 

Shoemark, H. (2013). Contingent singing as a therapeutic intervention for the hospitalised full-term neonate. In F. Thomson-Salo and C. Paul (Eds.), The Baby as Subject: Clinical Studies in Infant-Parent Therapy. Karnac. 

Shoemark, H. (2013). Working with full-term hospitalized infants. J. Bradt (Ed.) Guidelines for Music Therapy Practice: Pediatric Care. (pp.116-151). Barcelona Publishers. 

Shoemark, H. (2012). Frameworks for using music as a therapeutic agent for hospitalised newborn infants. In N. Rickard & K. McFerran (Eds.). Lifelong engagement in music: Benefits for mental health and well-being. pp1-20. New York: Nova Science Press. 

Shoemark, H. (2011). Contingent singing: The musicality of companionship with the hospitalized newborn infant. In Baker, F. & S. Uhlig (Eds.). Therapeutic Voicework in Music Therapy. pp. 229-249. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 

Shoemark, H. (2011). Translating “infant-directed singing” into a strategy for the hospitalised family. In J. Edwards (Ed.) Music therapy and parent-infant bonding. pp. 162 – 178. London: Oxford University Press. 

Community Engagement & Media

Team Based Service Development Program, Project Lead, 2016-ongoing

  • Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, USA.
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital, USA.
  • UCSF Benioff Hospital, San Francisco, USA.    
  • Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, USA.    
  • Monash Health Network. Melbourne Australia
  • Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne Australia

Using your voice with Newborn Babies in Hospital. Youtube Video - Support for nurses in NICUs during COVID when no parents allowed in. (April 2020)  

Musicality of Infant Relationships. Musical Health Podcast with Caitlin Krater, Feb 2020.  

Perspective on Perspectives podcast interview with Dr. Noah Potvin. July 12th, 2019. 

AMTA-Pro Podcast Series: Publication Ethics for Authors and Editors,  April 25th,  2019.

JMT Take 3  Oxford University Press promotion for “A conceptual framework: The musical self as a unique pathway to outcomes in the acute pediatric medical setting” Journal of Music Therapy. June 1st, 2018

‘RMTs Change Lives’ Campaign, Australian Music Therapy Association. Sept 11th, 2016.   

Simply Music Blog with Mel Karajas Music and Connection. Interview Oct 2015.  

Shoemark Helen (expert opinion) Live music’s charms, soothing premature hearts. New York Times, April 15th 2013.