Little Girl Playing Piano

What is Perfect Pitch?

Perfect pitch is a photographic memory for sound. It is a spectrum, so it presents itself differently in different people. For example, some people can listen to a song for the first time on the radio and play it perfectly on an instrument. Others can only match a note from one instrument to the other. Excellent rhythmic abilities usually accompany this phenomenon. Studies have found that 1 in 10,000 people has perfect pitch, but I believe this number is incorrect and is perhaps quoted so low because it is rarely tested and identified. By contrast, of my 50 special needs students, 60% have perfect pitch.

Why Identify It?

By identifying perfect pitch in themselves, students can become aware of how they learn and process information. For example, those with perfect pitch have incredible auditory memory, but perhaps it also tells them they need to strengthen their visual skills. Nonetheless, perfect pitch can be very empowering and instill a sense of self-confidence, as I see regularly with my clients.

Podcast of Why Music Therapy Matters for the Special-Needs Student - Susan Rancer and Henny Kupferstein at the Commonwealth Club, August 24, 2015.

    Susan Rancer teaches:

  • Piano
  • Guitar
  • Violin
  • Music Therapy Activities

    ...and provides music instruction for individuals with:

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Autistic Spectrum
  • Mental Retardation
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Visual Impairments
  • Auditory Impairments
  • Speech Delay
  • Alzheimer's Disease
Perfect Pitch in the Key of Autism Perfect Pitch in the Key of Autism: A Guide for Educators, Parents and the Musically Gifted

By: Henny Kupferstein and Susan Rancer

Autistic people and musical individuals often have perfect pitch, a gift they were born with. The musical gift may be accompanied with learning differences such as reading comprehension problems, trouble with mathematics, and significant difficulties in learning how to read music. This book was written by a music therapist and an autistic researcher, and is endorsed by leading experts in the field of autism and special-needs education. The Rancer Method addresses perfect pitch, giftedness, autism and sensory issues in music education.