Robert Alexander Schumann was born in the small riverside town of
Zwickau, Saxony, in 1810.The youngest of five children, Robert Schumann
was brought up in comfortable, middle-class respectability. As a child, he
apparently exhibited no remarkable abilities.
At the age of six, Robert was sent to the local preparatory school, run
by Archdeacon Dohner. He had in fact already begun his education, with the
young tutor who gave lessons in exchange for board and lodging at the
At the age of seven Robert received his first piano lessons, from
Johann Gottfried Kuntzsch, organist at St. Mary's Church, and schoolmaster
at the Zwickau Lyceum. Kuntzsch was a kindly, conservative musician of
limited abilities; his knowledge stemmed from leisure-time study.
Nevertheless, Robert was soon improvising, and even composing a set of
dances for the piano.
Robert's musical talent was recognized by his father. He bought an