Cougars in the Crowd: The Colorful World of Ellie Myers


Coronado sophomore Ellie Myers

Bekah Redinger, Staff Writer

Every student at Coronado has something special about them; some kind of interesting personality quirk or fun factoid. Coronado sophomore Ellie Myers is one such student because at a young age, she discovered that she has synesthesia. Synesthesia is a condition in which a stimulus serves as a trigger for a secondary sense being activated. In many instances, this shows itself as letters or sounds having corresponding colors, or sounds inducing tactile sensations.


Ellie’s synesthesia causes her to associate colors with sounds, so when she hears a certain sound, it triggers a color. Specifically, colors appear when she hears a song or a sound in a certain key. “It’s actually genuinely like I hear the color. It’s mainly listening to the colors in music… the color kind of depends on the key signature of the song,” she mentioned on how she experiences synesthesia. Ellie went on to say that Taylor Swift’s song, “Shake it Off,” for example, sounds turquoise because it is in the key of G.

She did admit, however, that all synesthesia represents itself in different ways, mentioning that, “I don’t think I have it as strong as some people. I think some people have it a lot more complex. Sometimes people can taste colors or if they see something they’ll taste it in their mouths and I don’t have that. I just have colors in music mainly. I just kind of associate colors with a lot of things, but people can have different forms of it, too. I also associate colors with numbers and letters and personalities with numbers and letters.”


The condition has affected her for her whole life, and is prevalent in her everyday life. “I always just kind of thought it was something that came with listening to music, it was just kind of colorful. I didn’t really think one way or the other about it until a few years ago…  I can’t really imagine life without it,” Ellie added. She found out she had it when she was very young, she mentioned to her mom about how, “the slideshow that had the lyrics to the music didn’t match the color of the song” at church, and her mom noticed that something must have been different. Finding out that she had synesthesia, however, wasn’t enough of a surprise to drastically change Myers’ life or the lives of anyone around her, since the condition is easy to live with.


For her, synesthesia affects many common parts of daily life. Ellie plays piano, and she said that learning the instrument was a big help in understanding her synesthesia. “It helped me pinpoint exactly what it was that triggers the colors,” she said, referring to how she learned that specific colors come from certain keys. Sometimes, her synesthesia affects her life at school. She laughingly recounted the reaction of students in her English class, saying, “So the other day, it was Beyonce day. And Mr. Stoughton was playing songs and I just said to my group, ‘hey did you guys know that I can hear color?’ and they just stared at me for like a full minute and were like, ‘what?” Normally, people want to know more about how someone else experiences the world, though, so Ellie thinks that “people react pretty well to it, they’re usually interested to hear about what I experience.”


Sometimes, people’s expectations and assumptions can get in the way of Ellie describing how the condition actually affects her. “People will think that, because of the name of the song or something that like, ‘oh yeah because it’s a sad song it’s probably black or something,’ and I’m like, ‘no it’s actually pink,’” Ellie explained. “A lot of times I’ll get asked, ‘what is the color of this song?’ and they’ll give their opinions on what they thought it would be.” Questions don’t usually annoy her, though, because “I know that they don’t have it, so I guess it wouldn’t make sense to them, so I’m okay if they want to know more.”


Ellie’s synesthesia is one of the many things that helps her stand out in our Coronado crowd. She adds to our school in a unique and important way, just like every student in Coronado’s crowded halls.