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Music and Math: How Do We Make the Connection for Preschoolers?

by Karen Sawyers and Janet Hutson-Brandhagen
July/August 2004
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Article Link: http://exchangepress.com/article/music-and-math-how-do-we-make-the-connection-for-preschoolers/5015846/

Music is organized in mathematical ways: its melodies, rhythms, and harmonies are built on recurring mathematical patterns and sequences. To children, music is play in every sense of the word. In addition, early experiences with music that are successful and fun prepare children to be successful in other areas of learning, particularly math.

Research suggests a connection between children’s early music experiences and their math abilities. A 1994 study by Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw, and their colleagues measured the effects of music lessons on three year olds. They found that children who received voice and keyboard lessons scored between eight and ten points higher on IQ tests that measured spatial-temporal skills �" important components of mathematical reasoning (Rauscher, 1995).

Another study conducted in 1998 by the same group of researchers followed preschool children who received piano keyboard lessons for six months. The children in the piano group showed impressive gains in their performance on spatial-temporal reasoning tasks. However, the children in control groups receiving other kinds of instruction (including a computer group) did not significantly improve. According to Temple Grandin, Matthew Peterson, and Gordon Shaw (1998), these findings suggest that math and science concepts that are difficult to teach can be ...

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