Mathematics and Music

By: Maryrose Gray

There is a well-documented connection between music and math. Since music programs are increasingly underfunded at schools, how can we bring this into our own households to bring an appreciation and understanding of the mathematical magic of music? This sounds like a super daunting task, which is why we decided to take it on and find ways to make it simple and easy (just the way we like it!)

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From a very early age, parents use music and rhythm to engage their children. We sing songs, rock to a beat, and even play classical music while our baby is still a bump! There are lots of reasons why we do these things, and I don’t want to get too heavy into any theories. Instead I want to share some fun, quick ways to add music to your learning environment at home and remind all of us that kids really do like to do things that are fun and they learn and remember best when they are having fun at the same time.

Music Makes Math More Fun

Sometimes we want to engage our children in math learning at home and they aren’t really into it or they catch on that they are doing math and maybe they already have some negative ideas about that. Adding a musical element is a quick way to boost up the fun factor. So if your child is having trouble counting, find a song that can help make practice more appealing. Here are some resources and videos that you and your child might like to help learn or practice math through fun songs:

Harry Kindergarten

Songs for Teaching

Music Helps Us Remember an Experience

Music can stimulate our brains and help us focus in different ways while we are learning. Children who listen to music or engage in musical activities while learning math tend to remember the experience and be able to recall it more accurately later on than when they are not listening to music. So this can be as easy as turning on some music while your child is playing a math game or working on homework.  It can also involve more creative ways of adding a musical element to mathematical problem solving by making up a silly song about a problem, adding sound effects or clapping along as you count objects. Adding these different musical sensory elements can help stimulate a child’s brain to remember the learning that is happening.

Music Helps Us Connect

Music is a universal language for people to experience together. If your child is hesitant to engage in math or other academic experiences, sharing music together could be a way to transition into more daunting activities in a more comfortable way. Letting your child listen to favorite songs or sharing music you like can be a great way to start a conversation that can transition into a learning experience.or activity. Sharing positive moments with our children helps us develop the relationship that is needed to build comfort and trust, which are both wonderful by themselves, but they can also lay the foundation needed to engage in deeper learning experiences together.

Music Helps Us Chill (Out)

Music impacts our heart rates, brain waves and our emotions. Managing the stress we feel is a key part of our happiness and impacts our success. Whether we are tasked with giving a presentation, completing a school assignment or helping a tantruming toddler calm down (and keeping ourselves calm in the process), music is a helpful tool in helping us keep calm in stressful situations. Luckily, Math’s dear friend Science is here to help. Check out this article, which includes a playlist with the “10 songs found to be the most relaxing on earth.” 

Other links to check out:

Patterns of Music

How to Use Music to Improve Math Skills

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