World Music Day 2024: Turning into music helps students strike a chord with math learning - Hindustan Times
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World Music Day 2024: Turning into music helps students strike a chord with math learning

Jun 20, 2024 07:20 PM IST

Music is inherently mathematical; rhythms and notes are organised in ways that can directly illustrate mathematical principles.

Celebrating World Music Day this year is the perfect time to explore the symphonic relationship between music and mathematics. This connection, often overlooked, is a powerful tool in teaching complex mathematical concepts, particularly to young learners who might otherwise find the subject daunting.

Mathematics, like music, is a universal language. Both disciplines follow patterns and structures, requiring creativity and analytical thinking.(Shutterstock)
Mathematics, like music, is a universal language. Both disciplines follow patterns and structures, requiring creativity and analytical thinking.(Shutterstock)

Mathematics, like music, is a universal language. Both disciplines follow patterns and structures, requiring creativity and analytical thinking. On World Music Day, educators around the globe are increasingly turning to music to help students "strike a chord" with math learning.

One of the most effective ways to integrate these two fields is by teaching fractions, ratios, and patterns. Music is inherently mathematical; rhythms and notes are organised in ways that can directly illustrate mathematical principles. For example, a whole note divided into half or quarter notes can visually and audibly demonstrate how fractions operate. This not only makes abstract concepts more concrete but also more engaging.

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In my experience in developing math curricula, I have found that using music to teach math helps students understand mathematical concepts better and increases their engagement and enjoyment of the subject. When students can tap their feet to a rhythm or create their musical patterns, they are actively engaging with mathematical principles without the intimidation that traditional methods might evoke.

Moreover, music aids in memory retention. Melodies can help students remember mathematical formulas and concepts just as they remember lyrics to a song. This mnemonic device is particularly useful in mathematics, where retention of complex formulas is often vital to solving problems.

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Feedback from educators and students alike has been overwhelmingly positive. Teachers report that their students demonstrate a deeper understanding of math concepts and a greater enthusiasm for learning when music is part of the equation. Students, on the other hand, find math classes more fun and less stressful, which can lead to better performance in exams and a more positive attitude towards the subject overall.

For educators looking to adopt this method, World Music Day is an excellent opportunity to start. Begin with simple exercises, such as clapping to different rhythms to understand numerical patterns or using scales to explain intervals and ratios. The key is to make these lessons interactive and enjoyable, allowing students to explore and make connections themselves.

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In conclusion, as we celebrate the universal language of music on World Music Day, let's embrace its potential to enhance our understanding of mathematics. Integrating music into math education can provide students with a more holistic, enjoyable, and practical learning experience. So, let the music play, and let the numbers follow the rhythm!

(Author Prachotan DL is Co-Founder, Musician and World Record Holder. Views expressed here are personal.)

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