Picture a drunkard of a musician who had seven children with a woman who thought herself a friend to her children. Only three of their seven children survived, and the eldest was the over-achiever. At age 7 ½ he was performing in public. That wasn’t good enough for his father, who told people the child was only six … as if 7 ½ wasn’t good enough to be considered above average or talented.
Before he was twelve, he was writing his own music and teachers compared him to the likes of Mozart. What many did not know was that this young man was also taking care of his siblings, his mother, and filling in for his father who was often rendered useless due to his battle with alcohol. He was merely a child himself, but yet the man of a household. What a humble beginning.
The young man furthered his education through grants and the generosity of others. A few short years after schooling began, he was called back home. His mother was sick and dying. He was torn between his education and his duty to his loving mother and family. He didn’t let that stop him and pursued grants and generosity again a few years later and returned to school where he could be surrounded with the things he loved, music and culture. He never again returned to his birth home and didn’t let his humble past slow down his quest for a bright and amazing future.
The young man loved music and culture and studied some of the great composers such as Mozart and Haydn. Some of his peers thought his music was odd, but yet he followed his heart and his dreams and wrote music, played music, and performed music. He was delighted with himself, until another crashing blow came his way. He was fearful and angry … he was losing his hearing. Imagine the unfairness of a musician who cannot hear the amazing works of his own hand?
The young man struggled with the illness of his deafness as well as financial problems through the years. His brother died and left him to care for his widow and young child, and yet the young man continued writing music and performing for some of the most well-known and successful people in his country. His popularity was growing although his hearing was declining. He did not live to a ripe old age and died well before turning 60 on the eve of a storm which seems rather fitting for his successful and yet tumultuous life.
What a beautiful story about overcoming life’s road blocks, and turning lemons into lemonade. The man we are speaking of wrote ten symphonies in his life and Franz Schubert was a coffin bearer at his funeral. His was a life lived beautifully and he gave the gift that will live on for eternity in song. Beethoven was an amazing man with strong moral character. He did not use his difficult past as a crutch, and he created a beautiful future for himself and those who appreciate his music – he did this by believing in himself and surrounding himself with those who believed in him. Thank you, Beethoven, for setting a great example that is still pertinent today.
Article by Crystal J. Casavant
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