Musical notations are intrinsically tied to mathematics. Whether the fractional notes need to add up to a complete measure, each measure needs to be equal to the time signature, how the written notes are essentially “graphed” on the ledger or how the notes in each piece need to make musical patterns to sound “right”, your musical child is most likely learning math without even realizing it. By pointing out the correlations between math to music, s/he will begin to see the parallels between the two realms. A few examples of how you can illustrate examples for each concept include:
- If your child is in preschool or kindergarten, have him/her mimic or extend the note patterns or rhythm patterns you start. (e.g. you play C C E D C C E D, then s/he plays C C E D or pat/pat/clap/snap).
- If a piece is written in 4/4 time, how many quarter notes are in each measure? If your child is learning 5 or 10 groups, show him/her how these separations are like measures in a musical piece.
- If your is learning multiplication, have him/her multiply by measures…E.g. If there are 8 measures in the piece with 4/4 time, then how many quarter notes are there in the whole piece? How about eighth notes? What if the piece is in ¾ time?
- If s/he is learning to graph, remind him/her that written music graphs notes on a ledger in the same way that we graph numbers on an axis.