The buzz…

Diving Deeper - Imagination and Music By Lisa Marcolin

Do you remember…. as a child roaring like a tiger, flying like a fairy and jumping like a kangaroo?!?

It's all about imagination.

Babies imitate silly faces. Pre schoolers can imitate and invent characters and scenes.

By five, children are staging plays and concerts!

During the 16 years that I have been teaching our gorgeous Mini Maestros, I have constantly been delighted by the fairies, dinosaurs, superheroes, princesses and pirates that come to class each week! (just to name a few). When I ask the children in class how they want to move to the action song or about their costume they are very excited and go straight into character!

I often find they don’t even need to be wearing a costume as their imagination and the music is enough. Children in the 4 year old groups can be puppy dogs crawling around or flying watermelons very quickly and easily, and can show me exactly how they should move to the beat. I vary the way I strum or pick the guitar strings to match their actions and enhance their musical experience.

Imagination and Stages of Development (in brief)

0-2 years (Mini Maestros yellow, blue and green books programs)

  • Babies will remember much of what they see, hear, and feel - memories they will use later in pretend play.
  • In their second year, we start to see symbolic play. For example a doll will represent a baby, and blocks can become a garage or a house, a cardboard box becomes a car or train. Perhaps a music train!
  • More imaginative fantasy play gradually emerges in the pretend play of two-year-olds.
  • They sometimes lose sight of the line between fantasy and reality - even in their own pretending.

3-4 years (Mini Maestros red book program)

  • Play is often related to their real-life experiences- and usually includes props and lots of language. Think of all the language used in our Mini Maestros songs and prop activities – there is an abundance of material for children to draw on.
  • In the early stages of peer play, one child often assigns roles to the others.
  • Imaginary friends often appear around the age of three and can play a big role in a child's day-to-day life.
  • The pretend play of 4year olds becomes more realistic and detailed.

5-6 years ( Mini Maestros purple book and instrumental program)

  • Kinder age children have a strong grasp of the difference between real and pretend -- which makes engaging in fantasies even more enjoyable.
  • Five and six-year-olds' increased attention spans and awareness of detail enable them to stick with and extend play themes for long periods of time.
  • Pretending is social for kinder age children and interacting together is fun.


The Mini Maestros program lends itself very well to creating many opportunities for imagination and creative expression and play.

Miss Polly/Master Wally Had a Dolly is always an absolute favourite with the 2-3 year olds in Term 3. They role-play being doctors and are always quite serious about making their dolls/toys well so they can then take them for a walk over the mountain. We then see lots of imaginary things on the mountain using our lovely handmade binoculars!

In Term 4 you may have already seen;

1-2 year olds and 2-3 year olds flying like birds, landing in a pretend nest (and loving it!). They imagined and practised leaving mum or their carer and going back safely to the nest.

2-3 year olds' imaginary play being extended by using props such as magpie cutouts and pretending to be elephants walking on a string or ribbon. In class they also imitated animal sounds.

3-4 year olds in the Doncaster October concert imagining being pussycats and mice whilst they were playing lento/presto and miaowing and stretching to wake up in the Old Grey Cat song.

Many have been bumblebees jumping on a pretend bed in classes. They also imagine where they would like to go in the ferryboat song. Some responses have been, "To the park/zoo/supermarket/ Disneyland/the moon…".

4-5 year olds being sailors and pirates with lots of treasure. They visit Timbuktu whilst playing their chime bars.

I love that some children use action songs to imagine – they imagine what they will build. Whilst they are all hammering with their hands to the beat they are also building houses, cars, fairy castles, boats, dinosaurs, and strengthening the use of their imagination of course!

Imagination can be just for fun, but can also be as powerful as to provide the ideas for the future that will save lives and improve human existence!

Enjoy imaginative play with your child at music class and at home.

Imagination is like a muscle - use it or lose it!

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