Sometimes a deadline is looming just ahead, and despite all of your experiential marketing expertise and the analysis on your client’s campaign so far, there is this sinking feeling that the report you’re working on right now isn’t going to get delivered to the client on time. Whatever the circumstances – the data was late, the client had a last-minute request you needed to address, or you simply procrastinated too much – I assure you that plugging in your earbuds to a Beethoven symphony will get you into the mindset, give you the motivation you need to be productive and to finish that report. It’s going to be rough, that’s a given, so let’s get right to it!
Beethoven’s fifth symphony
This is the perfect “I need to get moving” symphony. The first bars of the first movement are one of the most dramatic and recognizable motifs in the nineteenth century classical music cannon. Those distinctive four notes – short short short, long – take immediate command of your attention: they’re delivered with significant gravity, as if inspired by the very work you have at hand. The novice listener might misinterpret the drama of the allegro for fear and foreboding, but musical scholars believe Beethoven meant his signature motif to symbolize Fate knocking at the door. That’s aggressive motivation right there, and sure to get your report writing started and underway.
Beethoven’s eighth symphony
This is a recent favorite of mine; until I saw the Portland Symphony Orchestra perform it, I had considered his eighth symphony too stereotypically romantic. But upon a closer listen, the lightness of its flourishes reveal themselves to be playfully energizing. Again, the first movement is my favorite: it slowly builds on a central motif before falling back into a long coda, an enrapturing repetition. In the second movement, Beethoven mimics the ticking of a metronome, which serves as reminder to your deadline should your mind wander. So, if you find the fifth symphony making you too anxious to work, the eighth will put you in the mood to confront your workload with enthusiastic determination.
Beethoven’s sixth symphony
If you watched Disney’s “Fantasia” even once growing up, you’ll immediately recognize Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. Its programmatic composition brings to mind the peaceful countryside with Walt’s fauna and fairies running around. The first and second movements are similar in this regard, and are sure to calm your stress and nerves. The third movement is a bacchanalian festival which feeds energy to your calm, until the fourth movement has the gods’ wrath descend on it all with a vengeful, violent storm. I distinctly remember this scene from Fantasia where Vulcan forges and throws lightning bolts down onto the townspeople below. The storm clears, and you’re almost done.
Beethoven’s ninth symphony
Without a doubt, this is his greatest work and the most important in the musical cannon. The stormy allegro starts almost imperceptibly and builds with power and clarity to drive that last bit of your report writing. The scherzo is unusual as a second movement, which makes it so impactful. Beethoven doesn’t give you the opportunity to rest; you feel the downbeats demanding more and more from you, yet it’s encouraging and inspiriting. The third movement is slow but beautiful and grand. Beethoven has you comfortably accept that there is no time to go back and review what you’ve written, and that’s fine because you’re great and your report is great. You’re done, and you’re listening to the chorale in what is absolutely an ethereal realization of your triumph, for which there is none more rewarding than the Ode to Joy. Click “send”, great job!