Educational Outreach Programs at the Beethoven Center


For Children


"Beethoven in the Schools" Project

The "Beethoven in the Schools" Project was an educational program aimed at fourth- and fifth-grade students in Santa Clara County, California. The program consisted of a package of educational programs on Beethoven's life and works presented to the same classroom on a three- or four-visit basis.

This Project had the following goals:

  • Provide music appreciation to a community of children without such exposure, thereby providing skills which contribute to increased learning capacities in diverse subject areas
  • Expose a culturally diverse student population to forms of music which are highly valued and appreciated in American culture, thereby deepening their awareness of our historical/cultural history
  • Introduce children to one of the great figures of history who remains the most popular Classical musician (this would probably be their only formal introduction to Beethoven during their school years)
  • Provide exposure to Classical music as a balance and addition to the popular music they exposed to everyday and develop aesthetic sensitivity to music
  • Provide an example of the highest achievement by a physically-challenged individual
  • Stimulate emotional growth and expand creative capability
  • Provide instruction on developing appropriate behavior for structured listening situations

To schedule a program:

This project is currently unfunded and is not accepting requests from schools for classroom visits. Find out how you can help to reinstate this very popular program!

Field Trips

Teachers are welcome to arrange field trips to the Beethoven Center for students of all ages. During these one-hour tours, students will learn more about Beethoven's life and music while docents demonstrate the historical keyboard instrument and explain the many treasures on display. Although there is no fee for these field trips, we welcome donations of $100 or more whenever possible. Contact us to arrange your class visit!

For Teenagers


The Celia Mendez Young Pianist's Beethoven Competition

This annual competition is open to all high-school age California students. Founded by San Jose piano teacher Celia Mendez in 1987, the goal of the competition is to encourage and support high school pianists in their study of Beethoven's piano sonatas. Students who enter the competition are asked to submit a tape of one complete J.S. Bach prelude and fugue and one Beethoven sonata (up to and including Opus 90). Six finalists are chosen for the competition, and three winners are selected to perform in a master class with an internationally known artist. Past pianists have included Richard Goode, Claude Frank, Christopher O'Riley, Charles Rosen, and other gifted artists.

Please give to the competition endowment to help secure its future!

History Day Projects

Beethoven is a popular topic for History Day projects, and students are welcome to come to the Center to do research, use the Beethoven Gateway, or request research assistance from the Curator. If you need ideas for your Beethoven project, just ask us!

For Adults


Lecture Tours

Adult education classes and other groups are welcome to arrange tours of the Beethoven Center. These one-hour tours generally include demonstration of the historical keyboard instruments, a short video or lecture on Beethoven's life and music, and a guided tour of the exhibits. Although no fee is required, we request a donation of $100 or more to help us keep our instruments in playable condition.

To arrange a tour, contact the Curator.

First Wednesdays Lecture Series

The Beethoven Center organizes two lectures per year as part of the King Library's First Wednesday's Lecture Series as well as other lecture/recitals and concerts throughout the year. Please consult our events calendar for upcoming programs.

The Beethoven Gateway

Want to find out where there is information on your favorite sonata? Who was Beethoven's Immortal Beloved? On Beethoven's relation to the Enlightenment? On Archduke Rudolph?

The Beethoven Gateway is a database that will direct you to sources containing information on almost every Beethoven topic and often give you a short paragraph from the source itself.

Please give to the database endowment fund to help secure its future!