When I was in high school I really sucked at doing homework. Not necessarily accuracy but speed. It took me quite a while but I figured out why. Music.
Particularly loud music. I actually don’t listen to much nowadays, but every now and then I decide to start something up. I’m not sure how to relate this but I am not a casual listener. From when I start I fuss around a little bit until I find a song that… grabs me. Then I turn it up a little. A little more. Keep on going.
My other senses begin to subtly shut down but I don’t notice. Must turn it up more. If it’s a good piece I like to turn it up so loud it makes me blink my eyes and smile at the sheer volume. When I was young music this loud was an outlet for the overflowing raw emotions; the music literally pounded me into submission. Into a state where I could be normal.
Now that I’m a relative old fart I don’t need music to beat me into shape and make me normal. Yet my core still responds to it. If I’m listening to a piece with emotional power I shut down other senses and get a pressure in my chest. Sometimes my skin tingles. Often when I just begin listening I must close my eyes – it is the oddest thing to have such a powerful chemical reaction that the logical parts of my brain have zero control over. (Not saying emotion is rare or new, only that such a strong reaction occurring with music having no specific attachment to an event is unexpected) I literally cannot open my eyes for a little while I am “taken.”
Throughout high school I would not have events as I describe here, but music still gripped me. I ended up spending almost as much time fiddling with which song is playing and the volume as I did actually thinking about homework. So while my classmates would have about 3 hours of homework a night it was closer to 4 or 5 for me, until I hit senior year and was writing way more on the family computer out in the living room area. Then we achieved a rough parity – some types of work remain astonishingly easy for me and others the complete inverse.
In college I figured out the music was distracting me and I didn’t need it as much, so I switched to listening to music only while enjoying myself.
Today, I wish I had more music in two categories: the rare type I can actually kind of have in the background (cannot have lyrics and must be very low key,) and the charged type I can revitalize myself with every month or two. Sometimes I forget how much music is a part of me.