Applications for the Gretsch Fellowship in Children’s Music 2022-2023 are now open and will close on April 15th, 2022!


Please click on the button below to download the application. Completed applications should be submitted via email to

Application for the Gretsch Fellowship in Children's Music 2022

Fred Rogers was a musician and believed that music was critical component for the  development of young people. In a July 22, 1999, interview for the Archive of American Television, Fred stated:


My first love is music. It is a unique way for me to express who I am and what I am feeling. Music was always my way of saying who I was and how I felt. I was always able to cry or laugh or say I was angry through the tips of my fingers on the piano. I would go to the piano even when I was five years old. I started to play how I felt. And so, it was very natural for me to become a composer. Having written all of the music for the Neighborhood, I feel as if that’s one of my gifts to children …There is something very mystical and wonderful about how music can touch us. You know it’s elemental …It must be what Heaven is like.


Fred’s approach to music resonates with the Gretsch family’s understanding of the emotions experienced by playing Gretsch instruments and their personal commitment to “enriching children’s lives through participation in music.” The Gretsch Fellowship in Children’s Music at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media provides support to further study Fred Rogers’ approach to music as one of the most effective methods of communication for touching the hearts and minds of children.


This exceptional program provides an annual, two-semester appointment for a musician with notable credentials in scholarship, education, or a related background. To align with the Gretsch Family’s focus, preference will be given to guitarists and drummers, but all musical backgrounds will be considered.


During their Fellowship, each Gretsch Fellow in Children’s Music is expected to conduct research in the Fred Rogers Archive and to prepare a deliverable, such as a scholarly whitepaper, journal article, or musical performance that advances knowledge and practice related to child development and music. Topics of study will vary depending on each Fellow’s areas of expertise and may include, for example, research on Fred’s methodology for integrating music in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, observations of children learning and performing music, and studies of effective methods for musical instruction such as the Orff Schulwerk program that informed some of Gretsch’s approaches and perspectives.


Fred Rogers Center invites participation by academic faculty; preschool, kindergarten, and elementary teachers; music educators; and others. It is not expected that the Gretsch Fellow in Children’s Music maintains a physical presence on the campus during both semesters of the appointment.

Katie Palmer Gretsch Fellowship in Children’s Music Presentations


Monday, March 21st, 2022

6:00 PM

Fred Rogers Center


Learn more about Fred Rogers’s relationship with music and how to employ many of the same practices in early childhood settings. From utilizing Fred Rogers’s songs to creating music together, this presentation focuses on how music fosters healthful development in young children. Come prepared to sing, play, and share musical experiences. This presentation is in person only and no registration is required.



March 23rd, 2022

6:30 PM

Fred Rogers Center


Join Katherine Palmer, DMA, 2021 Gretsch Fellow in Children’s Music and curator of education at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, as she explores the power of music and listening through the work of Fred Rogers. Incorporating her background as an ethnomusicologist, Palmer will consider important questions, like how can music making and listening help us to better understand the world around us; how can diverse musical sounds foster empathy; and how can adult “helpers” support young musicians. Palmer will share research from the Fred Rogers Archive and highlight her own work in early childhood settings to demonstrate the importance of diversifying our “neighborhoods.”


If you can’t attend in person, please feel free to join us live via Zoom by clicking on the link HERE. No registration is required.