Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is considered one of the most important composers of all time. His family was musical: his grandfather and father were both singers. Beethoven’s earliest known work is a difficult piece for piano composed when he was just 12.
In 1791, Beethoven moved to Vienna where he played music for wealthy people, and when he was 30 his first symphony was performed there. He went on to compose some of the best known pieces of classical music, including his famous 5th symphony and Ode to Joy, from his 9th symphony.
Teach your children about Beethoven using our handy topic guide!
- Check out our ideas with videos for teaching about Beethoven.
- Put some of Beethoven’s music on, and colour in this free image of him.
- Make a timeline of events in Beethoven’s life. This Kiddle page is a good place to start.
- Explore Beethoven’s fifth symphony with your class, using these lesson plans.
- Beethoven suffered from deafness. Explore how the human ear works on the BBC site.
- Write an acrostic poem or a cinquain (five line poem) about Beethoven.
- Ask children to compose their own piece of music, including a rhythm from his work, such as the famous opening of the 5th symphony (dah, dah, dah, dum).
- Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, probably on the 16th of December 1770, and died on the 26th of March 1827 in Vienna, Austria.
- For many years, Beethoven believed he was born in 1772. It seems that his father changed his birth date to make his talent appear more even more impressive, as he was so young.
- Beethoven started to lose his hearing sometime in his mid twenties and was completely deaf by 1819. Many of his most famous pieces were written after he had lost his hearing.
- He left school at 11, as he needed to work to support his family.
- Beethoven probably never heard a note of his 9th symphony, composed between 1822 and 1824.
Composers for Kids
A brief introduction to Beethoven’s life and music.
Running time: 1:31
Line Riders – Beethoven’s 5th
A superb animation of Beethoven’s 5th which the animator drew by hand!
Running time: 4:25
Rage Over A Lost Penny
This terrific animation is based on one of Beethoven’s compositions.
Running time: 2:43
Best coin ever spent
This brilliant video of an Ode to Joy flashmob would make a great discussion starter.
Running time: 5:40
Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!