Are you or have you been a musician?
Are you not a musician but wonder how musicians think and learn?
There are so many different theories out there about musicians learn, think, and do things. If you’re curious, you’re in luck because we are about to go ahead and delve into the facts.
People who have musical training are able to detect patterns and rhythms quite easily. This is because they spend a lot of time sight reading and doing rhythm training. This is noted by Miendlerzewska and Trost (2014) from the University of Geneva as being some of the reasons why they tend to do very well in reading, learning other languages, memory, and grade scores. This can be due to the fact that since musicians are always reading and adapting to different kinds of sheet music, they are more used to learning new things.
Fact or myth? Are musicians better at math than non-musicians?
Everyone seems to say that musicians are naturally better at math than the average person, but I grew up learning and practicing music all my life and have had a VERY hard time with math. So what’s the deal?
In an article by Gaab and Zuk (2017), researchers found that there was a correlation between those who had been educated in music and higher grades in math. However, this cannot make a causal claim because you need to meet three criteria developed by research to make this a factual claim.
First, there must be an association. Yes, there is an association, so that is met. Next, it needs temporal precedence. Temporal precedence is essentially saying that music education came before the high grades in math. Which came first? We do not know. As mentioned in the article by Miendlerzewska and Trost (2014), while researchers have associated these, they cannot clearly state whether musicians are just naturally better at math or if people who are better at math are more musically inclined. Since we do not have temporal precedence, we certainly have to rule out internal validity which is asking if there are any outside factors influencing the association. Scientists still do not know.
So, I encourage you to ponder this. Are there biological, environmental, or learning factors that make them do things differently? Or is it a fusion of these things all together? Are some people just born to be musicians? Hopefully with research, one day we will know.
I actually have the opposite problem as you, I got high grades in math in high school and I have never been able to get the hang of musical instruments no matter how much I practice. I think it’s a lot of different biological, environmental, and learning factors coming together.
This is very interesting! I think it’s really cool to see how different ways of thinking and learning can affect academic ability. It makes sense that pattern recognition and rhythm training go hand in hand. As a previous musician myself, I can definitely see how my musical education has improved my skills in pattern recognition, and vice versa. I haven’t thought about musical training affecting language skills, but that makes sense! I think it would be really interesting to do further study into these ideas and also think about them in terms of the other styles of learning.
This is fascinating. I played music from 6th-12th grade and I mean math wasn’t so bad until I got up into calculus and then I had no idea what was going on. It would be interesting to find out more about these studies for sure.