There’s long been a debate about the correlation between music and math skills. Now, although not all researchers agree that the act of listening to music aids in cognition and math skills, there are enough studies to show a correlation.

The most obvious link between music and maths is that music is mathematically based. Counting, rhythm, scales, intervals, patterns, symbols, harmonies, time signatures, overtones, tone and pitch. The notations of composers and sounds made by musicians are connected to mathematics. This might explain why students of music tend to be fairly competent in math.

Where Mathematics and Music Meet in the Brain

Some research finds that music fires off the same areas of the brain that subjects use while solving spatial temporal reasoning problems. Based on extensive research and knowledge, we know that listening to music could improve a student’s cognition and ability to learn math skills. As recently as 2012, one study showed that listening to music during a math test could improve performance by 40 percent. Exactly how many students benefit may depend on the type of music they listen to and whether they choose to learn how to play instruments.

Listening to Music May Improve Mathematical Skills

A significant volume of research also suggests that listening to music could improve cognitive skills. The so-called Mozart Effect, as it is known, has less to do with listening to Mozart and more to do with listening to music that fires off a certain portion of the brain. Classical music and minor tones for the right side, upbeat and major tones for the left side.

We know that Einstein used to sit and play music when he struggled with a mathematical problem. By concentrating on the problem at hand (left brain) while playing the piano or violin (right brain), he was able to strengthen the communication between the two hemispheres of his brain and increase brain-power.

While researchers debate the extent of this correlation we could all agree that if it was good enough for Einstein, then it’s good enough for us, right?


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