My cello student, Alice, played out of tune. She couldn’t hear pitch, or so it seemed, but did this mean she was tone-deaf?
I thought not, and after six months of exploratory lessons, discovered that she heard pitch in colors. A single note called forth a swirl of multi-shaded images and in this fascination she lost all focus on the sound of the note.
Intensive tutorial work reversed the problem, but if her special mode of hearing had been recognized earlier, this gift could have been shaped rather than warped.