Learning Math through Music
Posted February 2, 2012on:
Do you have toddlers who love to bang on kitchen pots and pans? Good, you have an accountant in the making! Toddler’s music of pots and pans has a beat. “Musical elements such as steady beat, rhythm, melody and tempo possesses inherent mathematical principles such as spatial properties, sequencing, counting, patterning and one-to-one correspondence.” Geist & Kuznik 2011. Numbers are strong. They are concrete and predictable solids. So is the beat of pots & pans. Join the kitchen band!
As children get older, encourage attention to natural beats of raindrops, clocks ticking and machines chugging. The beat of their mom’s heart and the steady rock of a rocking chair soothes a fussy baby, toddlers love to clap and preschoolers bob their heads to the beat of music. Older children play instruments and listen to favorite songs & artists on the radio – ahhhh…. math at its finest!
Do you have a little one who loves to dance around the room? Does she dance to rhythms that sometimes you hear and sometimes are only hers? She is getting ready to explore the wonderful world of patterns! A child just dancing around her living room has steps and movements that are her design; a hop here, a tap there, then a little stretch. Again, a hop, a tap and a little stretch. Then again! Put down whatever you are doing and be her dance partner, not just her audience. She hears music; she sings and then there is dancing! “Music plays an important role in patterning….patterning is a key benchmark skill of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics” Young Children Journal Jan. 2012. Formal dance lessons teach technical skills in patterns around the beautiful sound of music.
Patterns are processed and found naturally. There is a pattern in zebra stripes and pansies. Help children listen for patterns; Question then answer, question then answer. Songs and finger plays have repeating refrains. Patterns can be “played with”; while playing with blocks, build a tower of green, blue, green, blue…., a colorful painted striped scarf can be a repeating pattern. Classrooms build on this wonderful, natural part of childhood when number and shape patterns become part of formal learning.
Do you have children who sing while they play, who arrange all the different colors of blue together or who call attention to the “red then white then red then white” flowers in a neighbor’s garden? Then you have mathematicians in the making! Music, singing and dancing is made up of rhythmic patterns and pattern recognition is one of the primary skills in mathematics.
Math literacy is necessary for all parts of life. Children actually love numbers. They love it when they can hold up fingers to tell how old they are. It is exciting to make the numbers that tell their address and phone number. The number on their soccer shirt is always the best number!
“I think it would be cool, To fill my tub with math,
The numbers I love to learn, Would make a super bath!”
Mr. Rath’s Math Fun
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director