Happy 250th Beethoven!
This year marks 250 years since Ludwig van Beethoven's birth.
Celebrations around the world will pay tribute to this pioneer of not only the piano, but also large symphonic works.
Beethoven was also the pioneer of strong emotion in music - he took listeners from the very predictable and structured Classical Era of music - into the emotional world of the Romantic Era.
From a child's standpoint, Beethoven is just FUN! His music is tumultuous and often has an interesting story behind it. His personality was interesting (to say the least), but beyond the quirks and inappropriate behaviors we can see a profoundly talented man who overcame great obstacles in his life.
Beethoven's life and music hold valuable lessons for all of us.
Use this post to begin learning about this great master of music!
10 Interesting Facts About Beethoven
Share these facts with your children. Couple the learning of facts with reading the living books suggested below and your children will begin to develop an understanding of the man behind the music.
He had to drop out of school when he was 10 to help support his family.
He could only do basic math - he never learned how to multiply or divide.
Beethoven's father was an alcoholic, and would abuse him physically when he played wrong notes.
He was the first musician to receive a salary with no duties other than to compose (he composed for the public, not aristocracy or nobility)
In his early 30s, he started losing his hearing and was completely deaf by the year 1819.
He composed his most celebrated works AFTER he went deaf.
He had strange personal habits - from bathing often but wearing dirty clothes, not emptying his chamber pot, and leaving plates of food around his home
Unusual rhythms in his music could have been a result of his irregular heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia)
When Beethoven was 17, he traveled to Vienna and performed for Mozart. Mozart supposedly said, "Keep your eyes on him - someday he'll give the world something to talk about!"
He died during a thunderstorm at the age of 56.
Beethoven's Best Playlist
As your children listen to pieces by Beethoven, give them a choice of Draw What You Hear sheets to complete.
Ask listeners what Beethoven might have been thinking about when he wrote a specific piece? Does the piece give you a picture in your head? How does it make you feel?
All of these questions get children thinking more deeply about a piece of music and sharpen their habit of attention.
These books will bring your study of Beethoven to life.
The Opal Wheeler biography about Beethoven is a wonderful read-aloud. Children love learning about what Beethoven was like as a child.
The movie, Beethoven Lives Upstairs, is especially good!
Beethoven Lives UpstairsBeethoven Lives UpstairsLudwig Beethoven and the Chiming Tower BellsLives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought)Ludwig Van Beethoven (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)Welcome to the Symphony: A Musical Exploration of the Orchestra Using Beethoven's Symphony No. 5Beethoven for Kids: His Life and Music with 21 Activities (For Kids series)The 39 Apartments of Ludwig Van Beethoven
Beethoven in SQUILT LIVE!
November 2020 will be ALL BEETHOVEN in SQUILT LIVE! Events include:
- Two live lessons featuring Beethoven's Pastorale (Nature) Symphony and the piano piece, Rage Over a Lost Penny.
- A curated listening calendar for the month - 30 days of Beethoven
- A super fun (super secret!) Beethoven contest for calendar purchasers and members - the winner will receive a huge box of SQUILT swag at the end of the month!
- A special evening webinar for parents about Beethoven - our guest will be Professor Carol!
- Access to all of the SQUILT LIVE! archives, which include many recorded lessons about Beethoven as well
Whatever you do - include a little bit of Beethoven in your life! His music is a gift to the world - and we're all celebrating 250 years of Beethoven!