(4 minute read)
“Time for a music break!” As a primary school teacher, I used to love sticking on an educational song in my lessons, both as part of the learning process AND as a useful brain break if my pupils started to get restless. Quick and easy to implement, songs are super engaging, super fun and help promote memorization for young kids. I think we all remember ‘baby shark’ being stuck in our brains as a permanent earworm since 2015…
You may think of music and mathematics as unlikely partners but did you know that songs and musical experiences actually play a significant role in enhancing children's math and number skills? The impact of music in the field of mathematics is a subject that is gaining increasing attention. Let’s take a look at why.
The Rhythm of Learning
Music is often described as a universal language, and it's no wonder that it can serve as a powerful tool for teaching math concepts to children. The beats structured in rhythmic patterns, melodies, and lyrics in songs can help young learners grasp concepts in a fun and engaging way. Here are some ways in which music aids in mathematical development.
Memorization: Catchy songs with repetitive lyrics can help children memorize key mathematical facts, such as multiplication tables, addition, and subtraction.
Numerical Concepts: Music can help children understand numerical concepts like sequencing, patterns, and order. Songs that involve counting, such as "Five Little Monkeys" or "Ten in the Bed," reinforce the concept of numbers in a memorable repetitive way.
Spatial Awareness: Learning about fractions, geometry, and measurement often requires a solid understanding of spatial relationships. Music has its rhythmic beats and patterns, as well as positional thinking with low, middle and high notes. These help children develop spatial awareness or reasoning which has been linked to better mathematical understanding. Check out this Boogie Mites video for more on this.
Problem-Solving Skills: Music encourages problem-solving as children try to match rhythms, melodies, and lyrics. This problem-solving approach is transferable to mathematical problem-solving, where children apply their skills to real-world situations.
The Power of Catchy Tunes
Catchy songs have a unique ability to stick in our minds — the earworm effect — with melodies that are hard to forget. When applied to mathematics, this effect can be a powerful tool for enhancing children's number skills. Here's how a catchy tune works to benefit mathematical learning.
Engagement: Catchy songs capture children's attention and keep them engaged in the learning process. The excitement and enjoyment they experience while singing along to their favourite tunes make them more receptive to mathematical concepts.
Retention: Melodies and catchy lyrics are easier to remember than dry mathematical equations. Children can recall mathematical facts more readily when they are set to music, facilitating long-term retention.
Confidence Building: Success in singing along to a song can boost a child's self-confidence, making them more willing to tackle math problems and exercises.
The integration of music into mathematics education is not just theoretical — it has practical applications in the classroom and at home:
Math Apps and Games: Educational apps and games that combine mathematics with catchy songs and interactive elements are becoming increasingly popular. They provide an engaging way for children to practice math skills. Check out our math game Teach Your Monster Number Skills!
DIY Math Songs: Parents and educators can create their own math songs tailored to specific topics or skills that children need to develop. Personalized songs can make learning even more enjoyable and effective.
The relationship between music and mathematics is a harmonious one, benefiting children's development of their foundational number skills. Catchy songs and musical experiences provide an enjoyable avenue for children to explore mathematical concepts, from basic counting to more advanced problem-solving. Here at Teach Your Monster, we love this concept and after lots of research and development…drumroll please… we have just added 3 NUMBER SONGS to Teach Your Monster Number Skills! We can’t wait for these catchy tunes to help kids memorise their numbers (sorry in advance - these are definite earworms!)
Here is a list of our top 7 math songs for you to play at home!
- Counting to 5 - Teach Your Monster Number Skills
- Counting to 10 - Teach Your Monster Number Skills
- Number bonds to 10 - Teach Your Monster Number Skills
- Pattern learning - Go Noodle
- Count to 3 - Go Noodle
- Subitizing - Harry Kindergarten Music
- Count to and back from 10 - Gracie’s Corner
So, let the music play, and watch as it helps children dance their way to mathematical success!
Kay Leathers, Ex-Primary School Teacher and Contributor at Teach Your Monster.