• BM, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • MMEd, University of Kansas
  • PhD, 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 Childrens Research Institute, her research focuses on auditory experience and specifically maternal voice to support infant development in hospital. She is a founding member of the Applied Music and Neuroscience in Paediatrics Group drawing together researchers and clinicians in acute paediatrics.  She is the founder of the Music and the Neuro-Developmentally At-Risk Infant group (MANDARI) which is 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. Shoemark continues as a Senior Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne where she supervises PhD research.

Shoemark is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Music Therapy. Until recently, she was the Editor of theAustralian Journal of Music Therapyand Chair of Communications for the International Association for Music and Medicine, overseeing the journalMusic and Medicine.She has served as national President and Chair of Registration for the Australian Music Therapy Association."

Works and Publications

Shoemark, H. (e-pub 2017). Time Together: A feasible program to promote parent-infant interaction in the NICU. Music Therapy Perspectives.

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).

Invited–Peer Reviewed Journals: 

Shoemark, H. (2014). The fundamental interaction of singing.  Special Issue: Music therapy in Neonatal Care - Commentary. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy; 23(1):2-4. DOI:10.1080/08098131.2014.876178

Shoemark, H. (2013) The pragmatic reality of clinical research. Editorial. Journal of Music Therapy; 50(3): 150-154

Reviewed - Peer Reviewed Journals: 

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

Tan, E. & Shoemark, H.(2017). Case study: The feasibility of using song as a cue in expressive language intervention. 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.

Engelbrecht, R. & Shoemark, H. (2015). The acceptability and efficacy of using iPads in music therapy to support wellbeing with older adults: A pilot study. 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. 

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. (June, 2014).  A survey of how mothers think about and use voice with their hospitalized newborn infant. Journal of Neonatal Nursing; 20:115-121. DOI:

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.

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. DOI: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.

Book Chapters: 

Shoemark, H. & Dearn, T. (2015). Music therapy in the medical care of infants. 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, The Baby as Subject: Clinical Studies in Infant-Parent Therapy. London: Karnac

Shoemark, H. (2013). Working with full-term hospitalized infants. J. Bradt (Ed.) Guidelines for Music Therapy Practice: Pediatric Care. (pp.116-151). Philadelphia: 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. (2012). Family-centred music therapy for infants with complex medical and surgical needs.  In M. Nocker (Ed.). Hőren – Brűcke ins leben.  Musiktherapie mit frűh – und neugeborenen kindern: Forschung und klinische praxis. 2nd Edition, (pp.175-192). Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

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.

Technical Papers: 

Shoemark, H. (2015). Consensus in Practice and Service.  Project report: Music Therapy Quality Project.  The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne.     

Shoemark, H. & McCarthy, M. (2015). Shaping expectations every day: Infant care in the CCC.  Report to the Paediatric Integrated Cancer Service. The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne.    

Shoemark, H. (2012). Competencies for the Clinical Music Therapist in the NICU. Australian Music Therapy Association Paediatric Health Reference Group.

Shoemark, H (2011). Parent Information about Newborn Babies: Interacting.  Kids Health Info, The Royal Children’s Hospital. 


    Music Therapy's Effectiveness in Pediatrics, Australian Music Therapy Association

    Triple R ‘Radiotherapy’, radio program about medicine - studio guest, November 2014.

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

    Music as Therapy, Kyla Brettle, Radio National, 2011