The Beneficial Relationship of Music and Mathematics for Young Children

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Many educators would agree that music has the ability to unlock doors for young children to learn the various aspects of mathematics. The relationship of the two subjects can be traced back to the early stages of ancient history where they were taught together, unlike a majority of America’s public schools. Fortunately, there are public schools beginning to recognize this close relationship once again and have developed lesson plans that teach mathematics, science and music in a much more conjunctive nature. Studies have proven time and time again that this is an excellent learning system to develop because children introduced to music at an early age have a higher rate of mathematical comprehension. The National Association for Music Education (MENC) has compiled statistical information proving how well students have done when applying musical overtones to mathematical studies. A study of 237 second grade children used piano keyboard training and newly designed math software to demonstrate improvement in math skills. The group scored 27% higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children that used only the math software (, 2005). These numbers hold true as students progress through school without regard to the students background. MENC continues to back their argument with the following: In an analysis of U.S. Department of Education data on more than 25,000 secondary school students (NELS:88, National Education Longitudinal Survey), researchers found that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show “significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12.” This observation holds regardless of students’ socio-economic status, and differences in those who are involved with instrumental music vs. those who are not is more significant over time (2005). Being able to understand mathematics, regardless of the instruments used to teach it, is futile unless the student is able to follow through with their new found knowledge and achieve the grades they are capable of. MENC follows through with their research by stating that data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 showed that music participants received more academic honors and awards than non-music students, and that the percentage of music participants receiving As and Bs w... ... middle of paper ... ...omplexities of Ancient Greek philosophy is far more complex than what young children are learning in school. However, Plato and Aristotle considered music to be something more than the warm and fuzzy romantic expressions we hear on the radio today; to them, music was math (, 1998). Research has clearly shown the potential for students to excel when an emphasis is placed on the integration of music in to their education. Studies paint a promising picture for the relationship of mathematics and music, and teachers have found real life ways to implement this powerful unity in their classrooms. When examples such as the curriculum from Bear Creek Elementary are available, there is no excuse for denying children such a promising opportunity to expand their chance for success. References Argabright, R (Winter, 2005). Connecting with music. General Music Today, 18(2)5. Retrieved May 15, 2005, from EBSCO research database. Bear Creek Elementary School Website. Retrieved May 15, 2005 from Cavanaugh, J. (February, 1998). Arithmetic of the soul. Retrieved May 15, 2005 from
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