Perhaps my powers of concentration have been diminished by advancing age, or maybe I’ve simply become more sensitive to the emotion-evoking power of music. (I cry more easily now than I did a decade ago.) Whatever the reason, I now find music more distracting than I used to, and I no longer listen to any kind of music while working on first drafts. Editing is different, and unless I’m doing battle with a tight deadline, in which case I prefer to struggle in silence, I sometimes listen to music when I’m polishing a piece, though I don’t really hear it. Sometimes I’ll put on a symphony or concerto, start chipping away at an unpolished draft, and emerge from a deep trough of concentration to realize–always with surprise–that the piece of music to which I was “listening” is almost over….
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