Most people listen to and consume music on a daily basis–whether it be during their morning commute, while they’re cooking dinner, or even watching their favourite TV show. And while most of us recognize the quality and sound of music, we don’t often think about all of the ways listening to and playing music can actually improve our skills in other areas. In fact, music has been shown to improve academic skills in children especially in technical subjects like math! Today, we’re breaking down the connection between music and math and how both listening to and playing music can help improve your math skills!
The link between playing an instrument and math
To dive into the connection between music and math, you have to look into how music is written and put together. If you think about it, all music is math in some sense. Music is broken down into measures which have equal amounts of beats. These measures or sections are the same as mathematical divisions of time. In addition, each piece of music that you’ll play has a time signature which indicates the number of beats in each bar. Each note in a song has a number of beats which means that it’s similar to how you think about fractions.
Patterns are also largely used in music. Think about your favourite song and then consider how frequently the chorus or a beat in the background is repeated. These patterns can all link back to popular mathematical equations and in fact, some of the most popular music uses specific math equations to get their musical formula just right!
Overall, music relies heavily on math to play the notes and find the beat, but can playing an instrument also have an impact on your ability to solve math problems? The answer is yes! In fact, studies have shown that the ability to play a musical instrument can actually help the brain fire at faster speeds which in turn, increases your basic math skills. Playing and learning how to play and excel at an instrument takes an extraordinary amount of patience, dedication, and focus. All of these skills can also be applied to math. This means that because you have the patience to learn how to read music or play a new song, this skill will also translate into learning how to solve math problems or staying focused while in class.
In addition, when you play music you have to learn how to do a lot of things at once. Depending on your instrument of choice, you may be using several different body parts to play all while reading music, keeping the rhythm, or even singing! This means you have an understanding of how each movement translates to a music note which is very similar to the basic principles of algebra where your next move can give you an entirely new result.
On top of all of this, the ability to play music is known to be a huge self-esteem and confidence booster in children and teens. This improved self-esteem translates directly into social skills which means your child will feel more comfortable and have an easier time asking for help from their peers and instructors if they are struggling in their math (or any other) course. To help set your child up for success, consider enrolling her/him in online music lessons or in-person music lessons in Toronto. At Greater Toronto Music School, our expert instructors are here to help!
How listening to music improves math skills
Whether you know it or not, listening to music can actually improve your math skills through increased cognition. In its most basic form, cognition is “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.” When we listen to music, we activate many different parts of the brain including our hippocampus. The hippocampus is located in the frontal lobe of our brains and is in charge of how we learn and remember things. When you listen to music, you use the hippocampus to remember all of your favourite lyrics and melodies. As you hear music, your brain is producing more neurons which leads to an improved memory. This means that you can essentially think of listening to music as a workout for your hippocampus (as well as other parts of the brain!) This improved memory can help you grasp and remember crucial math skills more easily.
You also may have heard of the Mozart Effect which is another relevant theory when understanding the correlation between music and math. The original idea of the Mozart Effect states that listening to Mozart or classical music will help temporarily improve IQ scores. While some of the findings of this original study were exaggerated, it promoted further findings that any type of music can help improve brain function by activating certain areas of the brain. Just like you need to exercise to keep your body in shape, listening to music can help keep the mind agile and ready for anything!
Music lessons in Toronto
At the end of the day, the tactical connection between math and music is very strong but the skill-building that comes from learning how to play an instrument is even stronger! There are countless benefits to enrolling your child in music lessons outside of the world of music. From improved social skills to better discipline to increased creativity–the positive benefits are truly endless.
Looking to sign your child (or yourself!) up for music lessons in Toronto? Look no further than Greater Toronto Music School. We offer lessons for the piano, guitar, drums, strings, and so much more. We’re able to cater to your busy schedule with both virtual classes as well as in-person lessons right from the comfort of your own home. Give us a call today to learn more about what we can offer you and your family!