His father tried to make him into a child prodigy, like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but did not succeed. By that time, the teenaged Beethoven had published a composition ( ) and had been appointed continuo player to the Bonn opera.
Though at first quite prosperous, the Beethoven family became steadily poorer with the death of his grandfather in 1773 and the decline of his father into alcoholism.
By age 11 Beethoven had to leave school; at 18 he was the breadwinner of the family.
The second period, between 18, is marked by an increased use of improvisatory material.
The third period, between 18, featured a wide range of musical harmonies and textures. He composed many of his most famous pieces—including the Beethoven was not born deaf, but he gradually became deaf.