Vivaldi was the eldest of nine children and was very sickly when he was young. He suffered from chest pains and it is now believed that he had asthma. Being from a poor family, Vivaldi decided to become a priest because he could receive a free education. He began this pursuit when he was 14 or 15 years old and 10 years later he became a priest. He was often referred to as the red priest because of the color of his hair.
When he was young, his father taught him how to play the violin. He excelled and became a prolific player. In 1703, he was hired by the Cons. della Pietà to teach homeless girls music. These girls were taught to sing or play an instrument. Their concerts were renowned for their beautiful music Vivaldi was an excellent teacher and would have strong ties to the Pietà for his entire life.