Nearly everyone enjoys music, whether by listening to it, singing or playing an instrument. Despite this almost universal interest, many school systems either cut music education programs completely or downsize them.

Slashing budgets with the goal of improving academic performance has eliminated music education from some schools. While some believe music isn’t as important as the core academic subjects, my experience shows the benefits of music education including the support of students’ overall academic success.

It would take way too long to write the entire relationship between mathematics and music because essentially they are the same thing. Math is patterns in numbers. Music is patterns in sound. Rhythm is a pattern, melody is a pattern, scales are patterns.

It’s common knowledge music has long been played for performance and pleasure, yet the study of music, particularly its relation to mathematics, has been established for some time.

A 2017 University of Montreal study shows children enrolled in a music lesson program retain information better than those who learn the same concepts by verbal instruction because of the multi-sensory stimulation learning music provides. Increases in memory and sensory reaction times also were observed.

Music and science are closely related.

In 2012, University of California, Berkeley computer science professor Daniel S. Wilkerson wrote a research paper explaining harmony with physics and math. They use mathematical principles and logic, blended with creative thinking and inspiration.

This is a clear indication music is as complex and varied as any scientific principle or theory.

Just as mathematics is both a science and an art, music is both an art and a science. In this way, the science of music and the art of mathematics are very much related.

When describing music we commonly use numbers and math to describe and teach music as fractions of time to indicate lengths of notes, grouping chords together in keys, and the time signature tells the musician information about the rhythm of the piece.

The past 43 years I have devoted my life to teaching and preserving music for our youth. The question I get asked from parents the most is, does studying music boost students’ overall test scores and grades? My answer is most definitely yes.

The benefits of studying music and getting higher grades are proven and undisputed in my work with more than 3,500 students. I have discovered a continuous study of music and a weekly music lesson program helps achieve and maintain school performances at a higher level over time. This also applies to older middle age to senior citizen students. Over the years, students of all ages have proven over the years to improve and maintain better muscle memory, hand-eye coordination and finger dexterity than before they started learning a new instrument.

So yes, music education is a critical part of our children’s lives that we shouldn’t take for granted. It is a valuable tool in continuing education and in the lives of our aging population.

We as parents have a responsibility to our children to see they can become exposed to the wonderful world of music and all its benefits.

Terry Strange of Elizabethtown is an instrumentalist and performer who has been a music educator locally for 40 years. He can be reached through his website, terrystrange.com.

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