{Music Lessons for Kids} Radetzky March // Strauss

Today I’ve got a little Father’s Day family music lesson for you. Except this is not the dad you want, ’cause he was kind of horrible. Classical music from the dark side, coming at ya…

First, music + back story:

Joseph Radetzky von Radetz was a Austrian military great, famous for leading his people to victory at the Battle of Custoza. Austrian composer Johann Strauss Sr. wrote the Radetsky March in honor of the great hero, and the tune quickly took off and became a national favorite.

Grab a plate of schnitzel, and give it a listen:

Nice, huh? Fun, joyful, bouncy, patriotic. I’m practically saluting the Austrian flag as I type.

Here’s the thing, though…

The music is great, but Johann Strauss Sr. was kind of a horrible person.

Exhibits A-C:

  • He practically abandoned his wife, instead spending his time touring and promoting his music.
  • Then he had eight — 8! — children by a mistress he didn’t even bother to hide.
  • THEN, he refused to allow his children to become musicians, though they were clearly talented. #Austrianfamilydrama

(Spoiler: his plan did not work out. We’ve talked his two talented sons HERE and HERE.)

It brings us to an interesting question for your kids:

Does the greatness of your work really matter if you don’t love other people, treat them well, and cultivate goodness in the world?

Johann Strauss Sr.’s music is still famous. The Radetzky March is a national treasure to this day and is played at the finale of every single concert by the Vienna Philharmonic.

But was it worth it?

These are interesting conversations to have with your kids.



If you are looking for a more worthy Father’s Day lesson, read a bit about Johann Sebastian Bach HERE. By all accounts, he loved the Lord, loved his work, and loved his twenty — yes, 20! — children.