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Similarity in Music and Math

by Nigel Joneston

The patterns that exist between math, language, and music have prompted numerous studies to be commissioned to establish their inter- relationship. We all know that music is a series of notes that are played in accordance to a pattern and maths too works in a similar way. In maths to result always remains finite despite the various ways in which you can add, multiply, subtract, and divide numbers.

The same can be said about music. Notes can be combined in an endless variety of groupings but the number of notes and sounds that exist are finite. It is these patterns and combinations that make music and math very similar. Our brain seems to process the data from music and math much differently than it computes other information that is derived from other forms of the thought process.

Babies are attracted to the spoken work when it sounds rhythmic and melodic. Talk to a baby in a normal tone of voice and then change your words to a nursery rhyme that has melodic and bold sounding words throughout. You may find that the baby pays more attention to you when you are saying words that have a poetic, mathematical stride to them much more than when your words are mundane and spoken in a normal tone of voice.

Small children love to listen to music that with repetitive patterns to it. Perhaps this is because their brain is computing the music message in way that catches their interest and makes them think. Hopefully, as a result children learning different methods to think, they are more willing to learn and absorb.

Many young children start by making their own music, usually with anything they can get their hands on. As you listen to the sounds that they are making you will discern some kind of a pattern emerging. It is this ability to establish patterns out of random sounds that determines how well the child will do at math skills later in life.

Various studies have shown that children who participate in musical activities, whether playing an instrument or listening to a variety of music, do better in math. Therefore, for a growing child it is important to have music as a part of their life and routine. They develop into people who are better at maths as their brains have been exercised and sharpened to discern patterns and repetition among the musical notes.

Math is essentially the following of known patterns to arrive at a conclusion. Once you know that formula to find the answer, such as the simple formula of addition or the more complex formula of determining the degrees of an angle, you'll be able to use that pattern to get that answer.

The music and math connection works both ways: it's common for children who do well in math class to be extremely successful when it comes to playing an instrument and reading musical notes. The combination of both these skills will often lead to better overall performance in school.

The study of music has many benefits that include the learning of language to improving math skills. Incorporating music into our lives from birth onwards give an advantage that can't be disputed as more and more studies confirm the connection between music and math.

Nigel Joneston is the owner and operator of For Very Good Music, a resource for information about music

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