Ludwig van Beethoven was born on December 16, 1770 in Bonn, Germany, and baptized on December 17. Bonn was the seat of the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne in the 18th century. Beethoven's musically talented grandfather, who was also named Ludwig, had come from Flanders to settle in Bonn on the invitation of the Elector. He worked in the Elector's choir, first as a baritone singer and then as Kapellmeister or bandleader. He married a Bonn girl, Marie Poll. Of the several children they had, only one boy named Johann survived. .
Beethoven's father, Johann van Beethoven, also took to music but his abilities were mediocre. He managed to become a tenor singer in the Electoral Choir due to the influence of Ludwig Senior. He married Maria Magdalena Keverich Laym, daughter of the chief cook at the Court of the Elector of Treves, Ehrenbreitstein. They had seven children of whom only three survived " Ludwig, Caspar Karl and Nikolaus Johann. The Beethoven family lived in the poorer part of Bonn. The rough-hewn rebellious streak in Beethoven was the result of this early influence. .
Beethoven had little formal education. He studied at the Tironicium for four years and had to drop out at the age of 11. He managed to get a smattering of Latin and French, but he could never spell correctly in any language. He was later exposed to a few good books, ranging from Walter Scott's novels to Persian poetry.
Beethoven's training in music started when he was just four to five years old. His father wanted to make a child prodigy of his son like Mozart. He forced young Beethoven to practice on the piano for long hours, so much so that Beethoven would start crying. But over a period of time, Beethoven developed a taste for music. Johann was confident enough of his eight-year old son's talent to display him in a public concert on March 26, 1778. The success of this concert encouraged him to arrange music lessons for the child with other teachers.