Since its debut forty-two years ago today, Sesame Street has been inspiring viewers of all ages with its messages of imagination, tolerance, love and creativity. In honor of the show’s anniversary, Studio 602 has compiled a list of some of Sesame Street’s greatest lessons in creativity.
Sesame Street’s Greatest Lessons in Creativity
A simple ditty made famous by The Carpenter’s in the 1970s, “Sing” actually premiered on the first season of Sesame Street in 1970. The song has gone through many classic iterations, including sign-language with Lily Tomlin and a Spanish version by Gloria Estefan, but our favorite has to be the medley featuring artists as diverse as Garth Brooks, R.E.M., Denyce Graves and Maya Angelou. Not only did this iconic song expose kids to a diverse array of musical styles, but it gave them the message that every artist needs to hear: don’t worry if your work isn’t good enough for the rest of the world, just sing your song.
“Modern Museum of Art”
These segments, inserted in various episodes throughout the 1996/1997 season, showcase Big Bird and Baby Bear’s favorite works of art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This isn’t your run of-the-mill, Artwork’s Greatest Hits Collection; Piet Mondrian, Joan Miro and Jackson Pollock are spotlighted, as are Henri Rousseau and Pablo Picasso. Sesame Street made masterpieces of modern art accessible to young viewers, framing them in an easy-to-grasp concept while never talking down to them or insulting their intelligence. It’s artistic inspiration on multiple levels.
Building vocabulary with a twist of Fred-and-Ginger style choreography? Just another day in the neighborhood for Sesame Street. This 1988 segment was originally created for a prime-time pledge-drive, but has been re-aired since in Sesame Street specials. The segment spotlights a dancing couple visiting an art gallery that features works like a classical statue of Atlas and the Mona Lisa. Kids received a lesson in building language skills and were engaged with classic art in the process; now that is something worth singing about.
Possibly the all-time greatest Sesame Street song, “Put Down the Duckie” not only encourages kids to explore the world of music and teaches them to focus (how else will you ever play the saxophone unless you put down the duckie?), but it showcases some of the greatest musicians in the world doing what they do best. Wynton Marsalis wailing on the trumpet, Celia Cruz singing in Spanish, Itzhak Perlman on violin and an assortment of singers including Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Pete Seeger and Paul Simon make the four-minute video a feast for the ears. If actions speak louder than words, then this montage is a master-class in creativity.
Even pencils get in on the act on Sesame Street…here is an break-dancing number two pencil teaching viewers how to spell “dance,” while showcasing some old-school moves of his own! Give it a watch, and then let us know your favorite Sesame Street lessons in creativity in the comments below!
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