The Correlation Between Music and Math: A Neurobiology PerspectiveI remember the first time I heard the statement ?° Did you know that listening to classical music enhances your mathematical abilities??± I was both intrigued and excited, intrigued because I did not understand how music and math, two seemingly unrelated subject could possibly affect each other. I was also excited because I began to view classical music as some kind of magical potion that would transform my math skills from decent to extraordinary. When I had the opportunity to write this web paper, I immediately jumped into the topic of music and math. The questions that I wish to answer throughout this paper are; does listening to music really help you do better in math? If so, which part of the brain is controlling the correlation between math and music? In addition, how does music stimulate the brain in a way that enhances mathematical abilities?
It turns out that there is much evidence that supports the positive effects of music on one??s ability to do math. Most research shows that when children are trained in music at a young age, they tend to improve in their math skills. The surprising thing in this research is not that music as a whole is enhancing math skills. It is certain aspects of music that are affecting mathematics ability in a big way. Studies done mostly in children of young age show that their academic performance increases after a certain period of music education and training. One particular study published in the journal ?°Nature?± showed that when groups of first graders were given music instruction that emphasized sequential skill development and musical games involving rhythmn and pitch, after six months, the students scored significantly better in math than students in groups that received traditional music instruction. (1)
The result of this study posed another important question. How does this type of music that emphasized sequential skills, rhythmn and pitch manage to improve children’s ability to do math? It turned out that there are two distinguished types of reasoning, spatial temporal (ST) reasoning and Language analytical (LA) reasoning. LA reasoning would be involved in solving equations and obtaining a quantitative result. ST reasoning would be is utilized in activities like chess when one needs to think ahead several moves. The effect of music on math sometimes termed the Mozart effect. The Mozart effect gain its name after the discovery that listening to Mozart’s compositions, which is very sequential, produces a short-termed enhancement of spatial-temporal reasoning.