The enthusiastic conductor Benjamin Zander here conducting the Boston Philharmonic.
“There is one minimum requirement for the potentially intelligent listener. He must be able to recognize a melody when he hears it. If there is such a thing as being tone-deaf, then it suggests the inability to recognize a tune…..But if you feel confident that you can recognize a given melody – not sing a melody, but recognize it when played, even after an interval of a few minutes and after other and different melodies have been sounded – the key to a deeper appreciation of music is in your hands.” (Copland, What to Listen for in Music, p. 6)
Or, as the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, Benjamin Zander put it: “If the phone rings, you pick it up, and not only recognize your mother’s voice, but can even pick up on what her mood is today, you are not tone deaf.”