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As you probably know, I do not believe in the permanency of tone deafness.  I believe that it is a low level of proficiency that can be overcome, not a condition.

In a response to a mother’s question on Quora, I went over that in regards to her daughter. Well recently some guy responded to the answer I gave and told me that I was wrong.  He said that tone deafness did exist as a permanent condition and was in fact called Congenital Amusia Disorder.

This was my response.

beethoven ear trumpetCongenital Amusia is a disorder label for ‘tone deafness’. Unlike Acquired Amusia (brain damage from trauma), there is no actual known physical cause for it. So, like almost all psychological “disorders” it is simply a label for a common state of ability, existence, or state of being.

All the tests completed only prove that a few people have a very hard time differentiating between frequencies and/or rhythm. They already knew that.

“You have congenital amusia disorder.”

“Oh. I though I was just tone deaf.”

“Exactly. Congenital amusia disorder.”

“What causes it?”

“We’re not sure, but you definitely have it.”

It would be the same if I was told that I can’t draw more than a stick figure because I have Two Dimensional Visual Transference Disorder.stick man tone deaf

I suck at drawing. It doesn’t mean I need an official label from a psychologist to tell me that. But it does mean that if I practice enough, I can get good at it if I wanted. In case you’re wondering, I made up that disorder. Pretty good huh? Let’s just hope it doesn’t catch on.

Perfection is unobtainable. At the top of the scale you have ‘perfect pitch’. At the bottom you have tone deaf. Even the person with ‘perfect pitch’ will not be able to differentiate between frequencies 100% of the time. At the bottom the tone deaf person can only recognize frequency differences of around 2 whole steps or better, as with common speech.

Through the middle of the scale you have all varying degrees of pitch differential recognition from, as stated before, tone deaf up to perfect pitch.

Differential techniques are effective. I personally helped students who were tone deaf with the use of my differential techniques. But mine aren’t the only ones in existence. And I’m not the only one saying they work.

But work is what they do and work is required of the individual to overcome it. The only purpose most disorder labels serve is to provide the “afflicted” an easy path away from persistence and success and towards failure and acceptance.

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