This Sesame Street sketch with violinist Itzhak Perlman teaches us everything about being human

31 August 2022, 15:47 | Updated: 31 August 2022, 16:57

Sesame Street: Itzhak Perlman Talks About Easy and Hard

By Kyle Macdonald

“Some things that are really easy for you, are really hard for me”

Here’s a poignant and honest minute of television about ability, dedication, struggle and humanity.

It took place back in 1980, when American-Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman made an appearance on the iconic US kids TV show, Sesame Street. The sketch places Perlman, the virtuoso musician, alongside Itzhak, the person.

The famed violinist turned 77 this year, and continues to inspire music students across the world.

Read more: Itzhak Perlman reprises his ‘child prodigy’ TV debut 60 years on

Itzhak Perlman plays in New York in 1981
Itzhak Perlman plays in New York in 1981. Picture: Getty

In the Sesame Street video, a young violinist runs upstairs to a platform, and sits down with her violin.

Perlman, who contracted polio aged four and has walked using leg braces and crutches ever since, climbs up slowly behind her. He turns to the young girl and says: “Some things that are really easy for you, are really hard for me”.

The older musician then picks up his instrument and casually plays a few virtuosic phrases. The young violinist responds: “Yes, but some things that are easy for you are hard for me”. She then plays her violin at a more beginner level, with much concentration.

At the end, you can just catch the great violinist smiling and saying an encouraging “nice”.

Simple, profound and true.

Read more: The 25 greatest violinists of all time

Itzhak Perlman's advice for young musicians

Perlman has made many appearances on Sesame Street over the years, most recently as part of the show’s 50th anniversary celebrations in November 2019. This segment was included in VH1's special, The Greatest TV Moments: Sesame Street Music A-Z.