University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > FERSA Lunchtime Sessions > Investigating the Relationship between Musical Training and Mathematical Thinking in Children: A School-based Experiment

Investigating the Relationship between Musical Training and Mathematical Thinking in Children: A School-based Experiment

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Moritz Sowada.

This study examines the potential for music education to enhance children’s mathematical thinking. It addresses concerns that governments’ quests for higher standards in mathematics may result in impoverished curricula with limited access to the arts. If this experiment reveals that musical training may benefit logical thinking, as hypothesised, educationalists and policy-makers may reconsider curriculum balance. Specification of potential cognitive correlates between musical and mathematical components is sought and underpins the design (3 variables x 2 conditions each = 6 groups). Nearly 200 children aged 7-8 years experienced weekly music lessons (duration = 9 months). Lessons emphasised melody, rhythm or form; in half of the classes the teacher made the musical-mathematical parallels explicit. Apart from the specific musical-mathematical foci, the lesson content was kept as constant as possible within primary school settings. Pre-tests and post-tests in musical, creative, spatial and mathematical thinking were administered. Statistical analyses will examine improvement over time while considering differences among three musical components and two conditions for each.

This talk is part of the FERSA Lunchtime Sessions series.

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