While there is little doubt that engaging in musical or mathematical activities stimulates brain activity at high levels and that increased student involvement fosters a greater learning environment, questions remain about whether musical ability and mathematics performance are related. This study took a qualitative approach that allowed 24 high school students to share their direct experiences with music and mathematics, as well as their perceptions of how the two fields are related. Participants were divided into four groups based on school music participation and level of mathematic achievement. Using a multiple intelligence lens, this study addressed the following question: How do students perceive the fields of music and mathematics relating to each other? Interestingly, most of the students saw math as a foundation for musical ability, which suggest a different direction than most previous studies. The musical element of rhythm seemed to have the most mathematical connection. This implies several possibilities for educators, including encouraging students in both areas of study to recognize the connections between the two, if not particularly the influence of one over the other. Additionally, teachers in both fields may begin more collaborative efforts to support the learning in both content areas. Future studies include looking at the specific perceptions of students based on ethnicity, gender, and SES status, as well as exploring the motivation of students in both music and mathematics.
Cranmore, Jeff and Tunks, Jeanne
"High School Students' Perceptions of the Relationship between Music and Math,"
Mid-Western Educational Researcher: Vol. 27:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/mwer/vol27/iss1/4