How Music Teaches Kids About Math

There’s an old saying: “The science of music teaches us about the art of math.” Well, actually it’s not an old saying. We just made it up for this article. But it just so happens to be true. Scientists and educators have long recognized that there is a link between music and math. Music is an especially important learning tool for young children, as well as being great fun.

Five ways music prepares children for success in math:

  1. Music encourages movement. Movement helps children build up spatial awareness. Spatial and temporal awareness form the building blocks to understanding geometry. One of the first steps in becoming an engineer is understanding geometry. Encourage your little engineer to clap their hands, dance and stomp their feet as often as you can.
  2. Music teaches children to change variables which is common in math and in coding. Experimenting with the idea of changing sounds, rhythm, words and tempo sets them up for understanding math concepts later in their school career. Future coders can learn a lot from experimenting and having fun with music.
  3. Both math and music require kids to make comparisons. Ask a child questions like: Which sound is louder/quieter? Which note is higher/lower? Asking these questions teaches children about quantity and value comparisons in a fun way.
  4. Mathematics and music are dominated by patterns. In fact, music and song gives many children their first patterning experience. By getting involved in music creation they are trying out mathematical concepts without realizing it. Something as simple as banging out a beat on a simple drum or xylophone is recognising and creating patterns.
  5. ¬†Music is great for children’s brains overall. It has been scientifically demonstrated that music has huge advantages and health benefits for children. Musicians are skilled in performing complex physical and mental tasks. In fact, studies have shown that the brain of a musician works differently than that of a non-musician. Neuroimaging studies have shown that there is a significant positive correlation between musician status and increased gray matter volume in the brain. Wow! If that isn’t a good reason to start your child playing music early, we’re not sure what is!

These are just five reasons, but there are a LOT more. Researchers are constantly discovering new reasons why music is important for learning, our mental health and our brains in general.

Here at StoryToys we recognize the power of music in teaching and learning. That’s why we incorporate music and song into many of our apps. Disney Coloring World now features a child friendly music creator area, where children can learn the basics of sequencing by creating their very own compositions. Hungry Caterpillar Play School contains learning songs, like the ABC song or The Circle Square and Triangle Song. Songs help boost children’s understanding of many concepts, not just math. The app also contains a new music activity session featuring Brown Bear.

Why not download and try these apps for yourself.

Further reading:

Music: Highly Engaged Students Connect Music to Math: Shelly M. Jones, Dunn Pearson, Jr

The Benefits of Music Education LL Brown – PBS KIDS for Parents, 2012 – ldsd.org

Using Music to Improve Learning in Mathematics Thesis by Marie Duplessy Civil

Brain Structures Differ between Musicians and Non-Musicians – Christian Gaser and Gottfried Schlaug – Journal of Neuroscience 8 October 2003