• Music
  • Composers

Beethoven Rocks!
Classical music's biggest rock star

This multimedia series gives you an introduction to the life and work of the Classical music composer Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven’s greatest hits include Moonlight SonataFür Elise, “Ode to Joy,” and his famous Fifth Symphony. You might not recognize these titles, but you’re sure to know the melodies. You hear them today in movies, television, ring tones—and orchestral concert halls. 

In Part 1, you’ll be introduced to Beethoven by listening to an audio story followed by a slides to help you get to know more about his life and work. Then Parts 2 through 4 will explore three of his most famous symphonies.

Bigger than You Might Expect

There’s a lot to cover when teaching about Beethoven and his music. The resources in this set contain information about composer Ludwig van Beethoven, and listening activities relating to three major symphonies (the 5th, 6th and 9th.) The activities are designed for grades 4 and up, and may be presented by the classroom teacher or music specialist.

The listening activities in this player were originally created to support the National Symphony Orchestra’s Young People’s Concert Beethoven Rocks! Some of the clips reference the concert— specifically the “Ode to Joy” sing-along practice track— but this will not impact most classroom uses.

  • Narrator

    Susan Stamberg

  • Writer

    Doug Cooney

  • Audio Producer

    Richard Paul

  • Producer

    Kenny Neal

Related Resources

Collection Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in a small city in Germany in 1770 and started playing the piano when he was very small—so small he had to stand on the piano bench to reach the keys. When his father heard him play, he knew right away that he would be a big star.

  • Composers

Collection Classical Music

Meet Beethoven, study the science behind the instrument, and discover how classical music is anything but boring

  • Orchestral Music
  • Chamber Music

Collection Great Composers

Get inside the mind of a composer-- from a popular song, to a Broadway musical, to a symphony, how does a composer write music?

  • Composers

Media Instrument Spotter's Guide

You might see some of these instruments when you come to the Kennedy Center, watch a performance by your school band, or at any other concert you attend! Click the slides to learn more about some of the most-frequently spotted instruments in each family.

  • Music
  • Musical Instruments
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Kennedy Center Education Digital Learning

ARTSEDGE, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David Rubenstein.

Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

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