“To play without passion…” A Tribute to Beethoven on His Birthday


10291706_895990997094165_7509630389633328390_nIt’s Beethoven’s birthday today. At least, we think it is. It’s not recorded.

While we do know that Beethoven was baptized on December 17th, 1770, we don’t know his exact date of birth.  The likelihood is that he was born one or two days before he was baptized, and most music scholars agree that the 16th of December is the most likely date.

Beethoven was a unique man.  He was arrogant, and he was innovative.  He was a man with big hair and a big temper.  A man who spoke exactly what he thought no matter who was listening and had notes pouring out of his head constantly.  A man who was so meticulous that he counted out 60 coffee beans every. time. he. had. a. cup.  A man who ushered in the romantic era of classical music with his emotional musical expression and form.  A man who lost his hearing but KEPT. WRITING. ANYWAY.

There’s a lot we can learn NOT to do from Beethoven.  But if we looked for character strengths from his life that we should imitate, we would find these two huge ones:

 P A S S I O N    //   P E R S E V E R A N C E

When Beethoven started writing his famous 5th Symphony, he was going deaf.  But he wrote it anyway.  When Beethoven completed his 9th Symphony, he was completely deaf.  But he conducted it anyway.  He showed us what it looks like to press on when it is impossible.  Passion.  Perseverance.

It’s been nearly 250 years since the birth of this great musician, and what a 250 years it has been.  If he hadn’t been born to write music, our lives would be missing a few treasures.  No Beethoven’s Fifth.  No Pathetique.  No Moonlight Sonata.  No Ode to Joy.




He arrogantly stated once, “There are and always will be thousands of princes, but there is only one Beethoven!”  Really, though, I think we cannot help but agree with him.

There will only ever be one Beethoven.

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