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Ludwig van Beethoven - Creativity and MusicLudwig van Beethoven - Creativity and Music


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


German composer (pictured right).

His masterpieces include his nine symphonies.

20,000 people attended his funeral in Vienna where he lived most of his life.


Why was he so creative?


1. Customer satisfaction

He always aimed to delight and move his audiences by giving his music great power and emotion.

“Music should strike fire from man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman”, he said.


2. Imaginative revolutionary

He continually tried new ways of composing by breaking the existing rules of music.

Beautifully original was his combination of:

  • words and music - in his Ninth (Choral) Symphony (which came totally out of his imagination, because he was completely deaf when he wrote it).
  • loud and soft music.

 Ludwig van Beethoven - Creativity and Music

3. Freedom

Beethoven (pictured right in 1803) was the first musician who became rich from composing music.

So he had the freedom to write what and when he liked.

But he was also motivated by a desire to make money.

“I do not write what I most desire to, but what I need to because of money”, he said.


4. Love of music

He was totally absorbed in his work

His music saved him from the despair of his deafness.


5. Courage and determination

He had to overcome:

Ludwig van Beethoven - Creativity and Music

a) poverty in childhood

He had to leave school at 11 to earn money because of his alcoholic father.

He is pictured right aged 13.


b) deafness in his last 10 years

(when he composed some of his most brilliant works like the Ninth Symphony).


He was incredibly determined to be successful and never gave into despair or suffering.

His deafness only once forced him to attempt suicide in 1802, but his music and determination pulled him through.

 Ludwig van Beethoven - Creativity and Music

6. Relaxation and reflection

Beethoven (pictured right as a young man):

  • went on long country walks ( when many of his musical ideas came).
  • wrote down his ideas immediately.
  • never hurried his work (so that he could work and reflect on more than one composition).

He started his Fifth Symphony in 1804 and finished it in 1808!


7. Inspiration and perspiration


  • often got flashes of musical inspiration (particularly on his walks) - nature and morality inspired him most.
  • worked incredibly hard (getting up at 5 or 6 a.m).
  • had a fanatical attention to detail.
  • never gloated over the success of his music (but would immediately think of his next composition, constantly striving for new and better music).
  • could write incredibly fast – from 1806 to 1808 he completed his fourth and fifth symphonies.

 Ludwig van Beethoven - Creativity and Music

8. Single-mindedness

Beethoven (pictured right in 1814) lived for his music and never married, despite having many sweethearts.

During his writing, he lived in another world, forgetting everyday matters like meals, cleanliness and housework.

“I live entirely in my music”, he said.


9. Self-confidence

He had enormous belief in his ability, helped by his huge natural talent.

He made his first public performance as a pianist at the age of seven!


10. Lifelong learner

Despite his genius, he was humble enough to continually learn from anything that might improve his music.

For example, he learned from:Ludwig van Beethoven - Creativity and Music

  • German folk music.
  • other great composers like Mozart (pictured right) and Joseph Haydn (pictured right below).

He was a passionate believer in continuous improvement.

“Art demands of us that we shall not stand still”, he said.

 Ludwig van Beethoven - Creativity and Music

Key quotes on music and creativity

I live entirely in my music.

From the heart – may it return to the heart.

Music should strike fire from the heart of man and bring tears from the eyes of woman.

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.


Key quotes on time management

I will seize fate by the throat.


Key quote on stress and pain

This is the mark of a really admirable man: steadfastness in the face of trouble.


Key quote on children

Recommend to your children virtue; that alone can make them happy, not gold.


Key quote on quality

Art demands of us that we shall not stand still.

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