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Musical training sharpens the

Mathematical mind

We have been led to believe that playing Mozart to babies develops spatial awareness. Recent studies now show has no effect whatsoever, but do show that getting involved in active music making has real effect on spatial processing skills. Playing instruments develop such abilties.

Music making can help the kind of reasoning skills used for processing equations and long functions, as it requires thinking in space and time.


Scientists have found compelling evidence that instruction in instruments is an excellent way of stimulating spatial abilities in young children.


A 1997 study by Frances Rauscher and Gordon Shaw enrolled groups of 3 year olds in either singing classes, basic computer, or piano lessons, and a control group that had no classes. In the 2 groups exposed to music, spatial ability rose an incredible 34%. Spatialtemporal abilities are critical for bring able to sequence information and ideas, for advancing analysis and reasoning, building higher mathematical skills, refining visual interpretation and comprehension, and developing planning skills.

Music by its very nature is an expressive combination of math and physics. Because music is built from components that can be described in mathematical terms, it can be an excellent tool for teaching mathematical concepts.


Music helps us to understand and use ideas that could otherwise remain highly abstract. The spatial reasoning skills advanced by instrumental training can help process complex algebraic functions.

In an interview in the New Scientist magazine, the mathematician Brian Butterworth revealed that in a recent scientific study into the correlation between math and music students, the music students performed better in mathematical testing than the math students!

The concept of a half can easily be explained to a child by demonstrating 2 beats within a single pulse. In 1999, an experiment for Neurological Research magazine set out to explore the links between active music study and mathematical learning. Students who had studied fractions using a music-based model, involving divisions of the beat, scored 100 percent
higher than their colleagues who were taught in the conventional manner. It appears that by explaining the mathematical concept through a musical model the students could comprehend the concept through physically feeling and hearing the results of such divisions.

Music Makes Your Child Smarter, Philip Sheppard

Learning from Young Children: Research in Early Childhood Music, Suzanne Burton, and Cynthia Crump Taggart

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