I am not a “music person.” By a far cry. I did band and chorus throughout middle and high school. I could/can read sheet music. If I try, I used to be able to pick out a melody on a piano (I haven’t in years). But I’m tone deaf. To me, music is one of two options: background noise and/or poetry.
I’m not kidding either. In high school in order to letter in chorus (I’d been in chorus for 3 years, so senior year when they said I could letter I said “why not”), I had to try out for All-State. In order to prep for this, the chorus teacher hosted some after-school sessions to help people practice things like sight singing from a sheet and this thing where they play the tune and you have to sing the tune – no sheet music. I was “ok” at sight singing, except I usually started on the wrong note. I was hopeless on the other part. I couldn’t ever seem to get it right.
I remember the day Mr. Bunn said “Stop, let me try something.” and he took me through a series of listening exercises. He finally looked at me and said, “I think you might be a little tone deaf.”
I was relieved.
Everyone around me loved music in a way I didn’t. Couldn’t. They seemed to get lost in something that I just never heard. What made this or that so amazing and special? I listened to Hanson and said “meh.” I listened to N’sync’s “bye bye bye” and cringed – because I was listening to the lyrics – which aren’t terribly positive for either the male or female in the song. Even music like the Siberian Orchestra – which I like – I could never get quite as excited as my friends. When I was 18, I finally found out I wasn’t stupid, just a little broken.
What is hilarious is the people who [still] don’t believe this. They can believe in color-blind, even red-green color-blindness. They can believe in people with perfect pitch. But not in a person who isn’t hearing what they hear.