Music and Mathematics

Christina Lloyd
Mathematics Specialization
 Research
Question: Will teaching a
mathematics unit through music increase
first graders’ understanding of that
mathematical content over time?
 Music
is mathematics
o Music is comprised of mathematical relationships
and Roscigno, 2009)
o Music naturally lends itself to incorporating and teaching
mathematical concepts (Johnson & Edelson, 2003; Geist & Geist, 2008)
 Musical
o Help students memorize information
(Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1990)
o Works through rehearsal of material (Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1990)
o Kindergarten/First grade multi-aged classroom in a Stafford County public
o Only first graders were assessed during this study
o 9 first graders from my K/1 classroom (experimental group)
o 7 first graders from a different K/1 classroom (control group)
o Two week measurement unit
o Tested after the unit, and again two and four weeks after the unit
o Coins were taught and practiced throughout my student teaching
Supplemental Musical Activities
Music is mathematics
o A mountain dulcimer was used to teach the mathematical concept
of length
Musical mnemonics
o Recognition of coins and their value, a concept taught in
mathematics, will be taught through a song
Students were assessed one-on-one with the researcher
Assessments took place after the measurement unit, and
again two and four weeks after the unit ended
Students were asked to:
o List tools and strategies we can use to measure things
o What measurement is (definition)
o Identify coins
o Identify values of coins
o List how students learned about the coins
Music is Mathematics
o Students in the experimental group had a broader definition of
measurement than the control group
o Students in the experimental group also had more measurement
strategies, on average, than the control group
Average Number of Strategies Listed
Assessment Data Collection Number
Musical Mnemonic
o Many students could already successfully identify the various coins
and their values
o Students who initially struggled with identifying coin names and
values were very successful once they used the coin song
Percentage Correct on Coin Identification and Value Assessment
Control Group
Assessment #1
Assessment #2
Assessment #3
Music is a tool which can be used to broader understanding
of underlying mathematical content
Music as a memory tool can help struggling students
master mathematical concepts which must be memorized
I would use this in my own classroom to enhance
mathematics activities, and to engage students
Armistead, M. (2007). Kaleidoscope: How a creative arts enrichment program prepares children for kindergarten.
Young Children, 62, 86-93.
Geist, E. A., Geist, K. (2008). Using music to support emergent mathematics. Young Children, 63, 20-25.
Johnson, G. L., Edelson, R. J. (2003). Integrating music and mathematics in the elementary classroom. Teaching
Children Mathematics, 9, 474-479.
Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A. (1990). The case for mnemonic instruction: From laboratory research to
classroom applications. The Journal of Special Education, 24, 7-29.
Southgate, D. E., & Roscigno, V. J. (2009). The impact of music on childhood and adolescent achievement. Social
Science Quarterly (Blackwell Publishing Limited), 90, 4-21.

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