While not every researcher will agree that music has a positive effect on cognition and mathematical reasoning skills, there is actually sufficient studies that show that there is a relationship between music and math. In history, Einstein used to play music when he had problems with mathematical equations. Music always seemed to provide some clarity, why is this? This is because when you concentrate on a problem with your left brain while playing a musical instrument (Einstein loved the piano and violin), there was a boost in the communication both sides of the brain and this boosts cognition and brain output. Indeed, there is an increase in mathematical comprehension when listening to music.
The meeting of music and math in the brain
Scientific research has found that music increases activity in the areas of the brain that are in use when working on reasoning problems. So far, it is clear that different sounds and types of music are processed differently in the two sides of the brain so it is indeed possible that specific musical genres and sounds can increase the stimulation of one hemisphere of the brain more than the other and create more mental balance in brain activity. As such, a study that looked closely at this phenomenon showed that listening to music during a math exam could raise performance by as much as 40 percent in subjects.
Performing music is a great way to teach academic concepts in a classroom
Listening to music has its cognitive and math skill benefits to the brain. Performing music, on the other hand, has been shown to have even more advantages. Learning to play a musical instrument or song improves calculation skills and other math skills because music is mathematical in nature. Think about it, music is made up of time signatures, beats per time and progressions that follow a sequence or mathematical formula. Studies have shown that children that play musical instruments are able to understand more complex math problems than their non-musical colleagues.
Students that have mastered a musical instrument also pick up other skills that make them better students. Practicing scales takes a lot of patience which is also important when learning school work or working on mathematical problems. Playing musical instruments also helps to improve a student’s precision motor skills and an appreciation for small steps that lead up to bigger ones.
Learning music improves more than math skills
Music and arts have always been given some attention in education and this is for good reason. The benefits that music has goes into other areas like language skills, cognitive skills, and better academic performance. Students that learn music end up being more evenly rounded that those who do not learn music. With music also having a positive effect on mental and emotional health of young kids and teenagers, the musical student is more emotionally balanced, less prone to depression and more self-confident in their abilities.
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