Many people are surprised to learn that Fred considered himself first and foremost a musician. His college degree was in music composition and over his lifetime he wrote the melodies and lyrics for more than 200 songs.

A singing psychiatrist for children!

The songs

Through his songs, Fred Rogers translated the concepts of child development into musical messages in a language that children could understand. Some songs celebrate good feelings. Some are calming. Others are for times when children are struggling with a particular issue like jealousy or persistence or being apart from a loved one.


“All these songs are really songs about how we feel about ourselves. How children feel about themselves is what I care about most. If we can help our children feel accepted and valued when they are small, they’ll have a better chance of growing into adults who can feel good about who they are, too.” —- Fred Rogers

Listen to more favorite songs from the program here:

Everything on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is done out of a concern for children’s feelings …  And because I am a person who sometimes finds it easier to say important things through songs – that’s what I sing about, too.
Fred Rogers
Mister Rogers walks off the set to introduce the musicians (1985)
Mister Rogers walks off the set to introduce the musicians (1985)

Johnny Costa

Johnny Costa, a noted jazz musician, served as the Musical Director on the Neighborhood for more than 25 years. The music was played live in the studio – almost like a conversation between Fred and Johnny. They shared a common understanding that “if it’s for the children, it has to be the best we can give.”

It seems to me that music has always been at the root of who I am and what I do.
Fred Rogers