Music musings

25th April 2008 at 01:00
I must take issue with Lawrence Parsons linking cognitive amusia to a lack of perception of whether one note is higher than another (Brain and Behaviour, TES Magazine, April 18)

I must take issue with Lawrence Parsons linking cognitive amusia to a lack of perception of whether one note is higher than another (Brain and Behaviour, TES Magazine, April 18). I have congenital amusia and have entirely normal hearing, having been tested at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. I can hear music, but cannot appreciate it. Music with words can be appreciated as poetry or literature, but I find purely instrumental pieces and background music trying.

At school, I struggled with uncomprehending music teachers until I was able to jettison the subject. On an intellectual level, I can see how music is produced and that some people derive great pleasure from it. But I can only categorise music as either offensive or innocuous.

If, as Professor Parsons says, 5 per cent of us have amusia and 17 per cent are "tone deaf", that's a lot of children not enjoying music lessons. Some people may benefit from early music education, but more than one in five do not. Beware enthusiasts who do not realise others are not as they are.

Dr Martin Price, Chair, Vale of Glamorgan School Governors Association and vice-chair of governors, St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Barry, South Wales.

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