I Find This Inspiring...
I have a friend at church who plays piano and sight-reads. He was the one who recommended I learn sight-reading first and above all else.
Yesterday he played a musical piece for some youth singers in Sacrament meeting. Mid-way through the song, he stopped. One of the music sheets he was sight-reading from was missing! Since he didn't know the song well and relied heavily on the notation, the singers and congregation waited in frozen silence while the accompanist fumbled through sheets of paper to find it.
She did find it, two or three inexorably long minutes later, and the song was finished without further incident.
After Sacrament meeting I commended him on his performance and graceful recovery from near disaster. He chuckled and shrugged it off. Then from my pocket I pulled out the crumpled sheet music for So What. I pointed at the first chord and asked him what the root note was, and if he could give me "the formula" for determining that myself.
His reply? He didn't know because he never learned chords! Here's a man who can play a complicated musical composition by sight-reading alone, and yet he doesn't know chords!
I guess it's not that unusual. Legendary Blues guitarist BB King couldn't play a chord to save his life. I'm sure there are plenty of other examples.