Music and Maths relationship

(47 Posts)
morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-May-14 21:53:57

Hello.
My dd is a gifted musician was working within level 8 at end of y3.
She struggles a bit with maths and when at school was average in a class of average dc.
People constantly ask if she is good at maths, and sometimes comment she must be good here as well.
Apart from her getting fed up with having to answer that she is indeed rubbish at maths can't understand the relationship between the two.
I don't know either and would think that an ability in language would be more likely. In fact dd is better at languages than she is maths, not exactly gifted but picks them up easily enough considering she is 10.
So can somebody with knowledge or G*T dc good at Maths and music explain please.

I'm not sure. I teach a few kids who are gifted at maths and can play musical instruments very well. Equally I know very good musicians who are average at maths.
My own ds is very gifted in maths. I'm looking forward to him starting juniors in September as he will have the opportunity to take up a musical instrument which could possibly stretch him in a 'mathsy' way.

snowmummy Tue 13-May-14 22:02:51

Both my older dc's are gifted at maths. They are both good at music, the oldest particularly. I don't understand the relationship between the two but I have heard there is one, so I'm marking my place in the hope someone more knowledgeable comes along.

Trollsworth Tue 13-May-14 22:05:54

I'm shitty at maths, found it dull and barely scraped through my gcse. However, I am musically gifted. That's not to say I'm brilliant. I'm not at all brilliant because I barely touch a musical instrument (busy and undriven) and have a horrid voice. But I can hear harmonies in my head. I can tell you which interval I just heard, I can can write musical score from memory, without an instrument to hand. But yeah. Shit at maths.

Trollsworth Tue 13-May-14 22:07:32

My son is gifted at maths. Disinterested in music, whereas at his age I couldn't leave a musical instrument alone. He behaves like that with sums. He's fascinated, and they make me want to cry.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-May-14 22:10:01

Thank you for the replies, it certainly is bugging me.
Music is a language in which you can communicate with other people who can speak the language. Apart from fractions and recurring patterns like in Maths I can't see a conection.
As fractions and patterns are what dc learn quite young it doesn't equate to a G*T Maths. Arghhhhh.
Sorry, meant to add. I mentioned the level as I know there is a parent on here with a Level 8 maths dc in primary and thought it helped.
As dd is no longer in school the level isn't important, iyswim.

stillenacht1 Tue 13-May-14 22:11:04

As a music teacher I often see that my more able musicians fall into two categories really-those who are strong at science and maths and then those who are strong in languages. I was the latter ( took A level languages) but I was also in top set maths and sat my GCSE a year early.

Music is largely about interpretation of symbol, pattern recognition and sequencing but also division and addition toosmile

mysteryfairy Tue 13-May-14 22:11:16

My DS studies maths and music for a level. He's a competent grade 8 performer, nothing outstanding, but apparently is really outstandingly good at harmony and composition as he instinctively sees and can create the mathematical patterns. I'm quite astonished how many of his a level music class are destined to do joint honours degrees in maths and music.

steppemum Tue 13-May-14 22:14:04

It is quite a well established relationship. it is something to do with understanding of patterns and concepts.

But like anything it isn't true all the time.

My cousin is a maths phd and his hobby is trying to creatively crack age old maths problems. He is also a very good musician and has a very good ear.

I wonder if it is about which sort of maths and which sort of music (if that makes sense) I am not sure that school maths is quite broad enough!

7to25 Tue 13-May-14 22:17:02

My older son, Maths PhD, is uninterested in music. My ten year old is good at Maths and musical, but as said before, he is fascinated by keys, harmony and the construction of music.

hellsbells99 Tue 13-May-14 22:18:35

Research shows: Learning to play an instrument helps develop the maths part of the brain.
I remember having an interview and aptitude tests with Kodak many moons ago. They told us that music graduates tended to do best at the logical reasoning tests.
DD1 was rubbish at maths up to about the age of 10. She started piano at 8 and flute at 10. Her maths improved a lot in year 6 and she is now doing it at AS.

steppemum Tue 13-May-14 22:18:52

and patterns aren't for junior mathematicians . My cousin's phd was to do with that repeated pattern found everywhere in nature (whose name I can't remember) It was apparently ground breaking and the results have been applied in business etc (can you tell I am not mathematical and have no idea what I am talking about!)

my 3 dcs are all good at maths. dd plays instruments but no gifted musicians here

SolomanDaisy Tue 13-May-14 22:22:52

I'm always interested in this, both DH and I are very good at maths but not at all musical. I hear so often that music and maths ability go hand in hand that I have always wondered why it wasn't true for us.

Fram Tue 13-May-14 23:58:40

My mother was a talented musician... couldn't do maths for toffee, but was an amazing linguist. She had 0 logical reasoning skills too! grin

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 14-May-14 12:48:56

My DD is good at Maths has perfect pitch and good natural tone, when she practises she has amazing progress on her clarinet. She also studies mandarin and excels in this too and various teachers have suggested there is a music, maths and Madarin triad due them all bing patterns.

Seeline Wed 14-May-14 12:52:58

I think this is interesting. Both DH and I are reasonably musical. I am also a fairly good mathematician - he is not grin
I did maths and physics A-level. When there was a concert or musical event on at school involving day time rehearsals 12 out 15 of my physics class were absent. Even the physics teacher sang in the choir. We were very pleased when we got a 'sound' experiment for our practical!!

PiqueABoo Wed 14-May-14 17:49:28

I don't have plans for anything more than the joy of it, but my 10yo DD is on track to be a quite decent little pianist. She is also good at maths and has been known to do a few tricks with big numbers.

My off-the-cuff theory is that the piano exercises her working memory, what she can hold and manipulate in her head. The key to the maths is her analytical/puzzle-solving nature, but I think she has more capacity to put that nature to work than she would have done without the piano.

If that makes sense. If it doesn't, then she's currently much more on the Bach side of the musical fence than ermm.. 'play freely' Tom Waits.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 14-May-14 22:14:28

Thank you all for the wonderful responses, there are lots of good musicians and mathematicians amongst you all.
My dd had a maths question today and just didn't get it at all, she could n't begin to work it out and I wonder if it could be a wavelength or different sides of brain thing. It was basically taking 38 from 60 but worded Anne had an hour booked in swimming pool, had been swimming for 38 minutes, how long did she have to swim, (or similar)
When she does Aural tests in exams she is v. good apart from singing back.
She has good pitch and sings in some excellent choirs, but can't remember all the melody played, her recall just isn't there at all.
So my thoughts now are maybe people who are exceptional at maths make good musicians, but good musicians don't necessarily make good mathematicians.

dalziel1 Wed 14-May-14 22:24:14

I'm quite good at maths, but positively tone deaf!

HolidayCriminal Sat 17-May-14 06:35:31

I know a girl who is gifted musician & struggles with math. Then there's DS2 who has a magic feel for numbers but almost zero musicality. I think it's an association but not a strong link.

Normalisavariantofcrazy Wed 21-May-14 20:17:59

I know many a gifted musician who sucks at maths, however they nearly all excel at languages which is also a close partner of music

TooBigNow Fri 30-May-14 13:50:06

My DD is gifted in maths and sings beautifully. When she practised, was very good with her flute. Finds practising tedious though and stopped. She is also very good with languages, but doesn't like English lessons.

dalziel1 Sat 31-May-14 08:39:17

this book, which finds a linking theme between maths, music and art, was one of my university texts. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godel,_Escher,_Bach

I am tone deaf. I can hear music but I have zero ability to make any or understanding of it.

However, when I see a maths proof or I solve a problem, especially if it is complex, its like there is a flowing rhythm and it really feels like a thing of beauty. (Sad, but true!)

(And, no, I don't ever share my feelings with normal people in real life!).

However, DS2 has a (much) greater aptitude for maths than I do and I can see it gives him exactly the same pleasure as it gives me..

Bonsoir Sat 31-May-14 08:51:01

Is there really any relationship? I am gifted at languages (and interested in them) and good at maths (but not interested) and useless at music. My DP is gifted at maths/physics but useless at music and average at languages. DD is good at music, maths and languages so far.

dalziel1 Sun 01-Jun-14 08:47:36

I don't think there is one between languages and maths.

However, there is one between languages and music. Having lived abroad, I saw a lot of evidence that some expats pick up the local language extremely easily, and for others it was near impossible. There did seem to be a correlation between musicality and the affinity for languages that some have.

I think there is a different connection between music and maths, but its less obvious.

Maybe the only thing that would link all three would be that if you had a good memory, it would help everything.

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