Don would most always express his bouts of songwriter's block by banging his head on the piano keys in frustration, wailing "Oh, I'll never get it! Never!" In early sketches featuring the character, Kermit the Frog (in his reporter garb) would visit Don in his studio and assist him in writing a song, which would often be a new spin on a familiar nursery rhyme or public domain song. From the pen of "Don Music and frog" (as phrased by Kermit), a tune like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" would be hashed out and reworked as "Mary Had a Bicycle." When Don was finished writing, he would perform his newest composition, complete with backup singers (often Little Chrissy and the Alphabeats) either appearing out of nowhere or entering through the door to his studio. Don appeared in street scenes as well, where he is shown writing original songs not based on established compositions.
The character was created by David Korr, who wrote some of the early segments. Don always kept a picture of Sesame Street songwriter and composer Joe Raposo on the wall, while on his piano he often kept a bust of either Ludwig van Beethoven or William Shakespeare. Don also appeared in the View-Master Interactive Vision video Let's Learn to Play Together and the TV special, Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting.
His last new appearance on the show was in Episode 2826, but his segments continued to air as part of new episodes until Season 29 in 1998, where "Whistle, Whistle, Little Bird" was the final Don segment to play in Episode 3701. According to Sesame Street Unpaved, which was published the same year, "The character, played by Richard Hunt, was abandoned because of complaints about his alarming tendencies toward self-inflicted punishment. Apparently, kids were imitating his head-banging at home."
After being absent for over twenty years, Don Music resurfaced in new appearances associated with the show's 50th anniversary, performed by Ryan Dillon. He appeared at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019 in the "Sesame Street Puppets Live!" show, the special Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration (where host Joseph Gordon-Levitt mistakes him for Guy Smiley), and in the 2019 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He also made a cameo in the 2019 animated music video "Christmas with the Count" and appears as an audience member for The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo. He made his first appearance on the show proper since 1998 in Maggie Rogers' song in Episode 5102 (in a silent background cameo).
|Picture||Summary / First Appearance||Description|
|Mary Had a Bicycle
|Kermit helps Don Music write a remake of "Mary's Lamb," with some back-up vocals from the Monotones.
|Kermit helps Don Music finish the "Yankee Doodle" song, then because Don finds the idea of calling feathers macaroni ridiculous, they rewrite it to be a song in which Yankee Doodle stays at home cooking for his pony, puts "fat spaghetti" in a pot and calls it macaroni. Little Chrissy and the Alphabeats then come in and perform the song with Don. Frank Oz puppeteers Little Chrissy and the Lavender Alphabeat, while Jerry Nelson performs the Green band member.
|Row, Row, Row Your Boat
|"Life is but a... but a..." With Kermit's help, Don Music manages to rewrite the tune to "Drive, drive, drive your car." David Korr wrote the altered lyrics to this song while Sam Pottle arranged the music. Richard Hunt and Jerry Nelson provide the voices for the Alphabeats.
|Don successfully writes "Old MacDonald", with the help of Kermit and several barnyard animals. Sam Pottle composed the music for this segment.|
|Whistle, Whistle, Little Bird
|Don Music tries to rewrite "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." He succeeds and is joined by a country-western band.
|The Alphabet Song
|Don Music successfully "writes" the Alphabet Song, with help from his surroundings.|
|Can You Tell Me How To Get To Yellowstone Park
|On a stormy night, Don Music tries to rewrite the "Sesame Street Theme". With a little help from Kermit and the outdoor atmosphere, he succeeds and is joined by Little Chrissy & The Alphabeats.|
|Don was a contestant along with Cookie Monster and Sherlock Hemlock in game show sketch hosted by Guy Smiley. The object of the game was to wear a blindfold and guess who the mystery guest is. The mystery guest was the letter X. Don Music guessed M.|
|The American Revolution
|Don Music plays Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson has trouble getting a replacement quill to finish the Declaration when Mr. Grover misinterprets what he needs bringing a drill, and a chicken named Phil.
- Season 14: 1729, 1814, 1824
- Season 15: 1915, 1935, 1936
- Season 16: 1971, 1972, 2035, 2043
- Season 17: 2132, 2210
- Season 18: 2285, 2325, 2346
- Season 19: 2415, 2481
- Season 20: 2560
- Season 21: 2693
- Season 22: 2795, 2826
- I'm My Mommy - I'm My Daddy (1975)
- Who's Who on Sesame Street (1977)
- The Sesame Street Dictionary (1980)
- Fix It, Please (1989 reissue)
- NOSTALGIA TALK: Episode #29 (Featuring NORMAN STILES) (01:11:01)
- Ryan Dillon on Instagram (July 22, 2019)
- Ryan Dillon on Instagram (November 2, 2019)
- Behind the scenes photo
- ASCAP Work #88858112 (DON MUSIC ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT)
- ASCAP Work #24785082 (DON MUSIC OLD MACDONALD'S FARM)