AACA Composer Study: Beethoven

Here are some of the resources we've used in our studying of Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer, who left an unforgettable mark on Classical Music. In fact, classical music the way we know it now would not be the same without him!

Child's own book of Great Musicians: Beethoven

We used all the books in these series of Thomas Tapper. They are an incredible resource, and they bring reading a biography book to a totally new level. Children cut illustrations to place them throughout the text, they write their own short biography at the end of the book and we also usually do some additional activities, adding pages to complete the book.

In the original book, the pictures (ones that need to be cut out and placed in the book), are very dark and are of poor quality. The book is excellent, it is just very old, originally published in 1712 (!) with final reprint in 1917. So I found most of the paintings and photographs and improved their quality. I also added a few additional paintings of Beethoven and pictures from his home for children to use, when they will be writing their own story of composer at the end of the book.

You can download Free Public Domain "Child's Own Book of Great Musicians: Beethoven" by clicking on the picture below.

At the end of your downloaded PDF file you will also find 3 pages with color pictures I added. Those pictures that I could not find to replace with color ones, I tried to improve quality.

Here is 5 yo. A. tells us about making his own book of Beethoven:

And these are a couple of sample pages from his book of Beethoven:

This is the beginning of the story of Beethoven A. is about to write:

And here Sofia explains how she makes the book:

You can always use this free audio recording of the book as well ( done by Librivox). You can listen to it as you are working on cutting and pasting the pictures and preparing your book.

And visit Beethoven's House in Bonn with DW host Sarah:

Classics for Kids -- free service of Cincinnati Public Radio.

Classics for Kids Radio Broadcasts is another excellent resource we used for our study about Beethoven. Follow the link to their website by clicking on the picture and you will be able to listen to 5 free podcasts about Beethoven, as well as his famous 5th symphony. We love Classics for Kids programs! Every program is short (about 6 minutes), lively, full of interesting and fascinating facts and every program showcases many of the musical compositions. You also can find the list of all the music compositions for each program in the accompanying text! Its an incredible resource!

And since Beethoven standardized the orchestra, using pairs of woodwind and brass instruments, and using all the range of instruments in his compositions, we included a study of the history of orchestra. Here is a great video overview from the Music Channel on Youtube:

A great activity for learning about the orchestra is the resource from the St. Louis Symphony website --  cut out paper figures of different orchestra musicians, you can find additional activities using these materials here 

A great explanation about how Beethoven helped to usher the Romantic Period in Classical music (this is also a great overview of Beethoven's life):