Before it reverted to Internet age-blandness, American kids’ TV enjoyed a golden age of music, scored by oddball indie composers and legends alike.
And, wow, it could even teach you about synthesis.
Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame was actually a composer before going into television, and the show’s deep commitment to music education reflected that. That music was generally of the acoustic variety, but he did one day tote a rare ARP Soloist synthesizer along with his trademark shoes and handmade sweaters – and his message and song about “play” might well be an anthem for us all.
The best all-time “Fairlight CMI on a kids’ program” (because, amazingly, there’s been more than one of those) – Herbie Hancock, Sesame Street, 1983. Herbie keeps a terrific sense of cool and calm that all kids’ shows could learn from in this day of cloying, sugar-sweet patronizing programming:
Even better than that is Reading Rainbow‘s synesthesia 3D trip – John Sanborn and Dean Winkler’s Luminaire, which was made for Montreal’s Expo ’86, to music by composer Daniel “No, I’m not Philip Glass” Lentz.