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The Story of the Boy Who Made
Pictures in Music.

When Robert Schumann was a boy he used to amuse his friends by playing their pictures on the piano. He could make the music imitate the person.

One day he said to them: This is the way the farmer walks when he comes home singing from his work.

No. 2

Some day you will be able to play a lot of pieces by Schumann that picture the pleasantest things so clearly that you can see them very plainly indeed. In one of his books there is a music picture of a boy riding a rocking horse.

Another of a little girl falling asleep.

A March for Little Soldiers. (That is, make-believes.)

And then there are Sitting by the Fireside, What they Sing in Church, and a piece the first four notes of which spell the name of a composer who was a good friend of Schumann's.

[Pg 4] This composer came from Denmark.

No. 3

This is a picture of the house in Zwickau, Germany, where Robert Schumann was born.

No. 4

[Pg 5] Schumann was a strong healthy youth who had many friends and loved life.

No. 5

What do you think the Father and Mother of Robert Schumann wanted him to be when he was grown up?

A lawyer!

Robert was the youngest of five children, full of fun and up to all kinds of games. He went to school and became especially fond of reading plays.

He also loved to write little plays and to act them out on the stage that his Father had built for him in his room. So he and his companions could give their plays in their own theatre.

[Pg 6] All the while Robert was taking piano lessons.

Just before he entered the High School he heard a pianist who played so beautifully that he made up his mind that he would become a musician.

The pianist whose playing gave him this thought is one whose name you will know better and better as you get older.

No. 6

There was lots of music making in the Schumann home, for Robert and all his companions played and sang. And besides that, he composed music for them.

It must have been a pleasant picture to see all these German boys coming together to make music. If we could gather together some American boys who were alive at that same time, here are some we could have found:

[Pg 7] Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote for children, Tanglewood Tales and the Wonder Book.

No. 7

Then there was Longfellow, who was born in Portland, Maine. How many of his poems do you know besides Hiawatha?

No. 8

And then we must not forget Whittier, who wrote many lovely poems. One was about a little girl who spelled the word that her companion missed in school and so she went above him in the class.

No. 9

[Pg 8] And still there was another little boy only a year older than Robert Schumann. He was born in a cabin.

No. 10


This boy's name, as you can guess, was Abraham Lincoln.

No. 11

So when you think of Robert Schumann, let us also think of Hawthorne, Longfellow, Whittier, and Lincoln.

They were all doing their best, even as boys, to be useful.

[Pg 9] Well, after all, Robert Schumann did not become a lawyer. He studied music very hard. His teacher was Frederick Wieck. His teacher's daughter, Clara Wieck, played the piano very beautifully.

No. 12

Papa Wieck, as he was called, was not very kind to Robert Schumann when the young man confessed that he and Clara loved one another and wished to marry.

No. 13

[Pg 10] But after a while it all turned out happily and they were married. So Clara Wieck became Clara Schumann.

Here is a picture of them seated together.

No. 14

In the sixteen years that Robert Schumann lived after he and Clara Wieck were married he composed lots of music for the piano, besides songs, symphonies, and other kinds of compositions.

He was a teacher in the Leipzig Conservatory. Among his friends were Mendelssohn, Chopin, Brahms, and many others.

Schumann is best known as a composer of music, although he was also a teacher, a conductor, and a writer upon musical subjects. For many years he was the head of a musical newspaper, which is [Pg 11] remembered to this day because of the great work he did in helping people to understand new music and find out new composers. When he was a very young man Schumann wanted to become a pianist, but he unfortunately used a machine that he thought was going to help him play better. It hurt his hand so that he was never able to play well again. Poor Schumann went out of his mind in his last years, and died insane, July 29, 1856.

No. 15

Clara Schumann lived forty years after Robert Schumann died. She was the teacher of many students, some of whom traveled from America to study with her. She, too, was a composer and a concert pianist who played in public from the time she was ten years of age. [Pg 12]


1. Robert Schumann was born at Zwickau, in Saxony, Germany, on June 8, 1810.

2. When Schumann was nine years old he heard the great pianist Ignaz Moscheles play and resolved to become a great pianist.

3. When Schumann was a youth he showed a gift for writing poetry.

4. Schumann's father was a successful book-seller.

5. All through his life Schumann was a great lover of the writings of the German author, Jean Paul (whose full name was Jean Paul Richter). Much of his music shows his high regard for that writer of fairy stories.

6. Schumann was twenty-one years old when he injured his hand and learned that therefore he could not hope to be a pianist. It was then that he made up his mind to be a composer.

7. Schumann had enough means to live in comfort. He was not poor, as were Mozart, Schubert, and some others.

8. Robert and Clara Schumann had eight children, and some of Schumann's best music was written to interest his children.

9. Schumann died July 29, 1856. [Pg 13]


When you can answer them, try to write the Story of Schumann, to be copied on pages 14, 15, 16.

1. In what country was Schumann born?

2. Can you name some pieces for the piano composed by Schumann?

3. What did he write when he was a little boy?

4. What great pianist did Robert hear when a boy?

5. Name some famous Americans who were boys when Robert was going to school.

6. Who wrote Hiawatha? Tanglewood Tales?

7. With whom did Robert Schumann study the piano?

8. Whom did Robert Schumann marry?

9. Tell what you know about her.

10. Where did Schumann teach?

11. Mention some of his friends.

12. What does the composer picture for us in the "Happy Farmer?"

13. Whose name is spelled by these notes?

14. In what year was Schumann born?

15. Through what was Schumann best known?

16. How did he help people find new composers?

17. What misfortune came to Schumann late in life?


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On (date) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

No. 16