Mr. Jolly, I am an aspiring musician and I wanted to reach out to you. I play lead guitar and I hear that you have perfect pitch. I think I have relative pitch, but it isn’t perfect. Were you born with perfect pitch or did you manage to develop it? I would love to be able to improve my ability to hear music for playing. Is there a way you can develop perfect pitch?
I can only tell you that when I first discovered that I had perfect pitch, I honestly thought that everybody else had it too. I have found that while others also have perfect pitch, there are still relative degrees to just how “perfect” it is. I have encountered people who can hear any note and determine what it is, but yet still can’t play all of the music correctly. This tells me that while their hearing is great, it is not to the point where they can learn a song based on hearing alone. When I hear a new song on the radio, I can know it immediately before I even pick up my instrument. In essence I can almost “see” the notes. That has been a major benefit for me, because basically I have the ability to play just about “anything.” Many times (including last night) I had to play tunes that I have never played before (but I remember hearing). I first discovered I had perfect pitch when my mother put me in piano lessons (which I hated) when I was a little boy. My teacher would always give me sheet music to study each week for homework. I was horrible at it, but one week she gave me the assignment to do a classic entitled “Home on the Range.” I NEVER studied that sheet music at all, but somehow when I got to my next lesson I was able to play this song in its entirety (because this was a song that I actually heard before). My teacher thought that I had finally learned how to read music, but I wasn’t reading it at all. I was playing it based on my own recollection of the song. Since then I gravitated to the bass guitar (but I still play keyboards and write music). I do believe that perfect pitch can be learned, and I teach people how to better develop their ear for playing. If you or anyone else are interested, you can contact me at Brettjolly@aol.com. Never abandon your ability to hear music, because if you can hear really well, then that is about 80 per cent of your playing ability. I have found that there are some awesome singers out there, but their problem is that they are not great hearers. I wish you luck with your music, and hope you find the right comfort zone for doing your gigs. Thank you for reaching out, and I hope you have a great day.
Betty Wright, Vivian Green, Jaguar Wright and Brett Jolly in concert