Is there anything that music cant do? All signs point to no. The latest studies are showing that music can also help bridge the gap between your brain and math. Learning to read and play music, shares many similarities with learning mathematics from the basics, learning to count all the to solving algebraic equations. Generally we are taught the structure of math before we learn the vocabulary and definitions of the symbols commonly used in mathematics. The same can be said for music, however when we learn how to read and play music we have an extra tool at our fingertips: our ears. When we present this idea to children it is far more encouraging to them.
Numbers, in all actuality are just symbols that represent “how many” of a particular thing. Recognizing the symbols does not automatically translate to understanding the concepts they represent in math. Frequently we start teaching children the concepts of mathematics and numbers before explaining to them what the number symbols actually mean. It’s important to remember that counting is not simply memorizing a sequence of words. Children learn about the fundamentals of math by seeing the relationship between things. For example, matching things that are the same or equal is a basic math concept.
In music lessons, children use words, visuals and listening skills to match sounds, beats, pitches and tempo. These skills are developed and used by children unknowingly every time they sing a song. Even Sorting and categorizing can be integrated into both early-math leaning as well as early childhood music lessons. Children can sort sounds by timbre (quality and style of sound). Plastic, wood, and metal sounds all have a different qualities or timbres. Try to get you child to sort flashcards of different instruments by timbre. There is also always the good old-fashioned trick our counting along with the beat. They use this tactic to accompany a favorite song.
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