i'm not half bad at retouching. sometimes people ask me how i do what i do and i usually tell them that step one is to put your headphones on and listen to your favorite iTunes play list. a lot of people think i'm joking, but i'm not. retouching is visual so it doesn't impact you negatively to listen to something, in fact, your favorite music can help block out any sounds that may be distracting.
i used to work at pictage scanning film and retouching. as you can imagine, scanning film did not require a lot of brain cells. insert film, hit start. it got pretty boring so we used to listen to music. i figured out i could listen to educational tapes and learn something while working.
i noticed something, i was a more productive scanner when i listened to something because i wasn't so bored and looking for something to do to entertain myself. i could scan on auto pilot much like you can drive home from some place and not remember parts of the journey.
anyhow i still listen to stuff when i retouch. these days i listen to music as well talks from TED. the following video is one of my favorites: