Choir director uses synesthesia to inspire, lead Little Miami High School choir

UC expert discusses neurological condition with WLWT

WLWT highlighted Sarah Baker, director of Chorale Music at Little Miami High School in Warren County, Ohio.

Baker has synesthesia, a neurological condition and perceptual phenomenon where two senses overlap.

“For most people with synesthesia, the most common form is vision and hearing,” Daniel Sun, MD, Myles L. Pensak, MD Endowed Professor in Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery, director of the Division of Neurotology, neurotology fellowship program director and associate professor of otolaryngology in the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and a UC Health physician, told WLWT. “Such as perceiving different colors as sounds, or different sounds as colors vice versa.”

When a student auditions for Baker, she assigns them a color based on what she sees when they sing. When the choir sings together, Baker sees a mosaic of voices and colors.

“The light of voices and then the darker voices behind them, but they are mixed,” Baker said. “Then they’re mixed so then we can create this lighter buoyant kind of experience in that type of piece of music.”

Watch or read the WLWT story.

Featured photo at top of abstract colors in a ripple pattern. Photo/Eun Kyoung Jung/iStock.

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