When Einstein had difficulty solving a mathematical problem, he would sit and play music until his brain would find the solution. Playing the violin or piano would help the left and right hemispheres of his brain send messages to each other.
While scientists are still learning about the correlations between the study and practice of music and cognitive skills, anecdotal evidence certainly suggests that music and math are deeply connected.
Students who learn music learn symbolic relationships. The notes on the printed page relate to hand positions, and in turn those hand positions relate to pitches. On a tenor saxophone, for example, two index fingers covering holes creates a B-flat. Repeating that correlation solidifies a symbol-referent relationship in the brain, much like the relationship between variables in mathematical equations.
In every musical scale is a pattern. A major scale: two whole steps, one half step, three whole steps, one half step. The type of pattern recognition that helps our fingers learn scales is applicable to algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. The brain learns about proportion, about sequences, and about the different ways that we observe and re-create repeatable patterns.
A 2012 study by San Francisco State University researchers compared two groups of students learning math at Hoover Elementary School. One group studied only math. The second studied math as well as music. Of the 67 third-graders, the ones who added music to their curriculum scored 50 percent better on their fraction tests.
It certainly makes sense. Fractions have an obvious rhythmic reference, and not only in drum lessons. As a measure divides into quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes, patterns of notes and rests help solidify the brain’s understanding of symmetrical divisions and subdivisions.
Cincinnati Music Lessons With Toedtman School of Music
For Cincinnati music lessons at our Sharonville studio – on drums, piano, bass, double bass, guitar, woodwinds, trumpet, violin, viola, and voice — contact Toedtman School of Music by calling 513.772.7900, or by filling out the contact form below.