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this bothers me - does it bother you?
#1732434 08/13/11 05:04 PM
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jnod Offline OP
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There was an article published - I think in Scientific American - not long ago that described research that apparently shows a link between musical training at an early age and more advanced math skills and general academic performance later on. This article was posted in the exam centre at the Conservatory where my son does his piano exams every year and it made quite an impression on him (he's 10).

I don't really believe this link - it's very difficult to separate class/parental emphasis on education etc..etc... which will tend to be more closely associated with whether one takes music lessons as a kid - from academic performance and math skills. But more importantly, I find the posting of said link in a music school to be irritating. It seems to say "teach your kid music so they'll be good at something else!" It also seems like part of this urge to raise a generation of designer kids that I also find irritating. It seems as though any kid who is not gifted is loser.

My kid is taking music lessons because music is the most amazing thing on the planet. I hope he adopts it as a life long habit as have I but even if all he gets is a chance to play some simple pieces by Mozart and Beethoven (hey - he's already done that!) then it's worth the effort, money and all the rest.


Justin
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Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780
Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
jnod #1732465 08/13/11 05:45 PM
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I agree, people get neurotic over their kids. "I don't care how much more money the neighbours make, really, because my kid can play piano". Neighbour across the fence: "too bad that family next door can't afford a proper piano for their kid. He'll be a dropout junkie in no time. We'd better move into a bigger house in a nicer neighbourhood".

Sorry, back on topic...

Just last night a friend was telling me about how musicians were better at this-and-that. Sure it's flattering, but I want to play piano and still reserve my right to say and do stupid things.

Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
jnod #1732482 08/13/11 06:07 PM
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This link refers to research showing that musical training does improve math skills. The study has been replicated numerous times, I think Harvard also did it, and if I remember correctly, it refers specifically to musical training on the keyboard, i.e. piano.

It does make sense, because music is constructed with math...intervals, time signatures, counting, note values, and so forth.

Google something like "music makes math scores improve" and you will get a flood of info.


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Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
jnod #1732486 08/13/11 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jnod
...this urge to raise a generation of designer kids that I also find irritating. It seems as though any kid who is not gifted is loser.


... is the kind of thing that bothers me, not the article per se.


Guitar since 1966. Piano (Kawai DP80) since 2011.
Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
jnod #1732489 08/13/11 06:15 PM
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When parents do that, it is bothersome.

But I am of the belief that anything that can urge a parent/guardian to have their child take music lessons is good. The child benefits. And if they are in a home with that type of parenting style, the music lessons are probably all the more important for the child.


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Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
jnod #1732491 08/13/11 06:25 PM
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I can understand your concern as a parent and the post you and your son read on the music school bulletin. I am wondering if some parents and students may have found it beneficial to know there may be other options to explore?????? You are fortunate you are able to give your son music lessons. I am acutley aware how many cannot afford them. I am wondering with the economic downturn how many more parents will be unable to afford music lessons for their children. The "marginalization" of music programs in our public schools is a concern to me. Volunteering to give free lessons may be an option for some of us.

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There are many research articles about music increasing verbal skills, improving quality of life in dementia patients, and improving other skills such as math. Even if a child may not become a musician or performer as a vocation, they will benefit by the intorduction to music early on. I read many wikis about pianists.... most had a parent or family actively engaged in music or early training and/or exposure.
Genetics and environment will forever be intertwined!

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-music-is-good-for-you


Another interesting article: Play the piano. New Scientist, 02624079, 5/9/2009, Vol. 202, Issue 2707

Sohee Park and her colleagues at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, wanted to find out what was different about the brains of people who are good at "divergent thinking" - creativity characterised by coming up with novel ideas. She recruited 20 students of classical music, who had each had at least eight years of formal training, and 20 people matched for age, gender and IQ. The volunteers were each given one or more objects - for instance, a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss - and asked to come up with alternative uses for them. The musicians, it turned out, were far more creative. What's more, brain scans taken during the task revealed that while the non-musicians primarily employed their left frontal cortex, the musicians used the right-hand side too (Brain and Cognition, DOI: 10.1016/i.bandc.2008.07.009). This is unusual, says Park, and suggests the musicians are accessing more information: "It could be that by training with both hands, they have been forced to communicate between both sides of the brain."
...............Nevertheless, she points out that no matter what your age, your brain is affected by the things you do. "There's still cortical reorganisation, even when you're older," she says, so it is never too late to change your mind.








Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
rocket88 #1732492 08/13/11 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rocket88


But I am of the belief that anything that can urge a parent/guardian to have their child take music lessons is good. The child benefits. And if they are in a home with that type of parenting style, the music lessons are probably all the more important for the child.


I agree in principle but I'm still doubtful about the whole music/math link. I mean, is the converse true? Does teaching math at an early age foster good music skills?


Justin
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Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780
Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
jnod #1732498 08/13/11 06:40 PM
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Pythagoras played the lyre. I think Einstein did not particularly do well in math in school....but, Einstein played the violin and piano.... I am almost certain Einstein was playing before he developed E=mc2 smile

Last edited by Musicfan1979; 08/13/11 06:42 PM.
Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
Musicfan1979 #1732502 08/13/11 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Musicfan1979
Pythagoras played the lyre. I think Einstein did not particularly do well in math in school....but, Einstein played the violin and piano.... I am almost certain Einstein was playing before he developed E=mc2 smile


Yes, he tried to imagine what it would be like to ride one of those waves running down his violin string. Would time stand still? Would his relative mass increase?


Justin
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Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780
Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
jnod #1732504 08/13/11 06:53 PM
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I think music itself should be reason enough to study it, so I can understand why it bothers you. In the long run, knowing how to play the piano is more useful than advanced math skills unless you go into a math related field. I took calculus for my university degree but I'm doing absolutely diddly squat with it now. However, the piano still gives me great enjoyment daily.

Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
Frozenicicles #1732505 08/13/11 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Frozenicicles
I think music itself should be reason enough to study it, so I can understand why it bothers you. In the long run, knowing how to play the piano is more useful than advanced math skills unless you go into a math related field. I took calculus for my university degree but I'm doing absolutely diddly squat with it now. However, the piano still gives me great enjoyment daily.


Absolutely - this is why young kids should learn music!


Justin
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Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780
Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
jnod #1732507 08/13/11 06:59 PM
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I agree! Practicing the piano is so much more enjoyable than doing 25 math problems for homework... only my personal opinion. smile

Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
jnod #1732514 08/13/11 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jnod

I agree in principle but I'm still doubtful about the whole music/math link.


When I heard about this, I tried an experiment. I tried doing math in my head as I played.

So I started with some fairly simple math...not 2 + 2, or something already memorized, but rather something a bit more difficult, and not memorized, such as 17 plus 19 minus 13.

I did not do very well. It was almost hurting my head! I could do it, but it was so much harder than when doing the math alone. But I got a little better with practice.

Those who know say that some of the same parts of the brain that process math also process music, so my brain parts were multi-tasking big time.

None of this is scientific, BTW.


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Re: this bothers me - does it bother you?
rocket88 #1732516 08/13/11 07:10 PM
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jnod Offline OP
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Originally Posted by rocket88
Originally Posted by jnod


I agree in principle but I'm still doubtful about the whole music/math link. I mean, is the converse true? Does teaching math at an early age foster good music skills?


When I heard about this, I tried an experiment. I tried doing math in my head as I played.

So I tried doing some fairly simple math...not 2 + 2, or something already memorized, but rather something a bit more difficult, and not memorized.

I did not do very well. It was almost hurting my head! But I got a little better with practice.

Those who know say that the some of the same parts of the brain that process math also process music, so my brain parts were multi-tasking big time.

None of this is scientific, BTW.


So this may be true - I have no idea. But my problem with this whole idea is that it sounds like advocacy rather than science. That is, imagine if you were the guy who found out that teaching music makes students 67% more likely to suck at math or to have difficulty reading. THis would not be fun right. My suspicious is that the people who study these kinds of things start out with a bias that music is good for other parts of your brain. Of course it's fine if it is - I mean why not - but I find it very hard to believe that the work that has led to this idea was done so as to truly test the hypothesis.

Okay, I've got this off my chest now!


Justin
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Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780

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