A new musical curriculum was tried out in a few California schools in which children scored much higher than other schools in the state who got the same instructions. The hands-on curriculum uses music practices such as clapping, drumming, notation, and even changing to introduce the students to fractions. While this tends to be the hardest for children, they do very well when music is put into the equation.
It all comes down to the way that brain processes music and math concepts. The brain has two halves — the right and left hemisphere. The left brain is the one that deals with logical and rational thought while the right brain has to do with the irrational or creative side of life. Most people work with the left brain and fewer with their right brain. It is, however, to the best advantage for one to work with both hemispheres simultaneously. Expressing yourself creatively in a systematic way, which is what music is, is making strong connections between both sides of the brain.
When a child studies and learns to understand music, it has to focus on the beats, reading sheet music, and working together with others to create a harmonious music piece. All of these activities are connected to the skills needed to learn and excel in mathematics. The music that is comprised of certain time spans adds up to create something that resembles a mathematical equation. The process of learning music trains the brain to understand the concepts of math and use its logical and creative potential simultaneously.
Certain parts of the brain are engaged during music playing, and some even grow in size during prolonged musical activities. The cortex of the brain that is responsible for the development and higher thought is stimulated when playing or listening to music.
So, to help children learn math, incorporate music into their daily activities. They can shake or tap instruments rhythmically when listening to music. Children can also be encouraged to keep a beat while reading or listening to a story. And, of course, any chance of the child listening and expressing themselves through music or dance is a step to developing their brains in the most optimal way to understand not only math but perform better in all areas of their lives.