How a piano school is inspiring students to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday


Ludwig van Beethoven is arguably the most influential and renowned composer in Western musical history (next to his contemporaries Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach). His compositions are some of the most performed by pianists around the world, and he is widely admired for his genius ability to translate emotion into music.

While the exact date of his birth is not recorded, we know he was born in December 1770. Although he died in 1827, Oclef Piano School is choosing to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday this December and is encouraging its students to participate in an online festival dubbed the ‘Beethoven-athon’. The event will be live streaming on their social media channels in December, visit the link above to find out more information on how to watch.

Students and teachers from Oclef are planning to perform over 50 movements from Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. The online festival is predicted to deliver around 6-7 hours of non-stop music to celebrate the 250th birthday of the legendary composer.

While some might think it odd to celebrate someone’s 250th birthday long after they have died, Beethoven has undoubtedly been immortalized by his music. Learning to perform his compositions is a milestone that pretty much every modern pianist aspires to achieve.

Through their Beethoven-athon, Oclef is not just celebrating the composer, but the worldwide community that is created by his music. Almost every musician, not only pianists, can appreciate the genius of Beethoven’s work and respect his legacy.

After all, you can find covers of Beethoven’s music on all manner of instruments, including modern electric guitars and synth keyboards. His compositions are so universally recognized and appealing to the ears that they can be remixed to suit a variety of different genres, ranging from film scores to electronic dance music.

Because of the complexity of Beethoven’s compositions, and the technical skill required to perform them, the Beethoven-athon is a chance for Oclef’s students to put their lessons to use. It’s also a chance for Oclef to show off the aptitude of its students, and by extension, demonstrate the effectiveness of their unique teaching method.

Oclef believes in a ‘Piano Every Day’ approach to teaching piano to students. Their courses are focused on teaching young students how to make daily piano practice more effective, and less of a chore for them.

This process necessarily involves parents in the planning stages, helping their children construct a course that suits their interests and availability. Group classes are also used to help make learning piano more collaborative for young students, allowing them to learn tips and tricks from one another that improves their individual practice.

As you might expect, Beethoven’s work already appears prominently in learning material for Oclef’s students. As a result, students are already well-versed in the legendary composer’s work and are ready to make their contribution to the Beethoven-athon live show.

There’s no doubt that Oclef’s teachers and their students are busy practicing in preparation for the December celebration. It’s sure to be a fantastic show, not only of Beethoven’s work, but of the talent of a community of aspiring pianists.


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