Math Music Connection?

Years ago there was a lot of chat about the music/math connection. I had a parent call and express that she wanted her 4 year old to be good in physics some day, so she wanted to sign him up for music class.  At the time I ran preschool classes.  I delved into many subjects: opera, jazz, theory. I taught 3-5 years olds and took pride in the fact that I was able to keep it fun but never dumb down the subject. Still, even I could not promise to deliver a world-class physicist.

I was curious about these studies that promised listening to music would raise SAT scores, etc, so I sent for a copy.  You had to listen to a very specific piece for a set amount of time previous to taking the test. My family has always been very good at math and music, but I believe this is more of a connection than a direct cause and effect.  In my mind, part of the beauty of music is that it can be intellectually stimulating and make you cry all at the same time. It goes beyond math/music.

I could go on right now about all the benefits you get from music that are way beyond the simple math/music focus, but fortunately for all of you, my friend Julie sent me Joanne Lipman’s article that was published in the October 12th New York Times.  I encourage you to check it out.

“Is Music the Key to Success?”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/opinion/sunday/is-music-the-key-to-success.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&adxnnl=1&ref=general&src=me&adxnnlx=1381712485-uK/3JReXctoBfbk3O

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2 thoughts on “Math Music Connection?

  1. Hi. I have dyscalculia and I was wondering if its possible for me to learn to play an instrument and read musical notation or should I not even bother because I doubt I will find a teacher who can empathize with my learning struggles and accommodate my needs.

    • That is very interesting. I have not heard of that so I looked it up (in Wikipedia of course) to get a better idea. I would say that it depends on how much you will enjoy learning. It sounds like the difficulty is with timing – counting. I don’t have my student count initially. I have them learn the note names for lines and spaces which can be an issue if they are dyslexic. If you know how the song goes, you can probably rely on your ear a bit to play it with the correct timing. Sight reading a song that you have never heard might be a problem, but if you know what it sounds like, or the teacher can play if for you, that should help. Also, since sight reading is spatial it could be tricky. Can you easily identify the 5 lines and 4 spaces of the staff? How about the pattern on the keyboard – grouping of 2 and 3 black notes? My advice would be to chat with a couple of teachers and tell them your situation and see what they say. Look for someone who sounds flexible and interested in your issue. That person is probably more likely to work with you and make it fun. Also see if you enjoy the learning and playing. If it is a fun activity and you don’t mind spending the money on lessons, go for it.

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