Brahms’ childhood

The Brahms family was not a rich family initially. Johann Jakob and Christiane worked hard to provide for themselves and their growing family. As mentioned in last week’s post, when they married they didn’t have much between them but they were both hard workers.

They had three children and Johannes was the middle child. He had an older sister and a younger brother. Though his father broke tradition and did not follow in his own father’s footsteps, initially Johannes started to learn music to learn his father’s craft and follow in the new family tradition of being a musician. Johannes talent became evident fairly quickly and he moved on to proper lessons at a young age. Making him into a child prodigy was discouraged by one of his teachers. And instead of sending Johannes out on a grand tour at a young age, his parents continued his lessons. Though the family did not have a lot, his parents did what they could to foster his talent. Johannes started contributing to the household finances as soon as he was able by playing in local taverns and dance halls.

By all accounts, while his childhood was not luxurious, it was loving. He was shown the value of hard work by example and was raised by parents who wanted the best for their children. Johannes had a close relationship with both of his parents and kept in touch with them both over the years. After his mother’s death, his father remarried with Johannes’ blessing and no animosity towards his new stepmother (though he was well past the age of needing a mother figure at that point). His upbringing gave him the foundation for his future and it seems like a pretty solid foundation to me.


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