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Music Education and Math Skills

Years ago, I worked for a contracting company.  At this company, I worked with writers, engineers, managers, and sales people - all working at various area businesses - doing short or long term contracts.  Being right out of college, this was an exciting job to have.  I learned a lot from the job and the people I worked with. 

This was also the time when I noticed a correlation - a correlation that has stayed with me over the years until now as I type this blog.
 
Music and math.
 
The coworkers who were the smartest in math - also seemed to be the very same people who played music of some kind when they were in school.  Most of my math-brilliant coworkers played heavily in high school and grade school. Some continued with their music skills well beyond high school. Some even play in bands when I worked with them.
 
My former boss told me that she was convinced - without a doubt - that music ability was connected with the strong (or stronger) math skills of her colleagues and employees.  And after years of meeting and working with all kinds of people, I agree with this observation.  It makes sense.  With early music education, kids learn about math concepts maybe without even realizing it.  In music education, my own kids learn about proportion.  They learn about patterns.  They learn about ratios and fractions and even how to stay focused for longer periods of time.
 
Of course, I'm not saying this music/math observation applies to everyone.  (My own dad who was a math genius - was also tone deaf and would scare me if he attempted anything musical! ) 
 
However, from years of working with engineers, computer programmers, and IT people - I have seen quite a few guitar players, drummers, horn players, or members of a choir in the same people.  It's very difficult to ignore the coincidences.
 
Now, all that said .....
 
It never ceases to surprise me to learn about all the school districts that continue to chip away at or eliminate their music and arts programs.  What are they doing?  My son is currently in an orchestra program both through his school district and through a music program downtown. He plays bass (and loves it).  Recently from parents we talk to downtown, I've heard of several high schools and countless grade schools in our area that have either no band - or no orchestra - or no music program at all.   Cudahy thankfully does still have music programs.
 
But for kids in the schools with no programs, if they want to learn to play an instrument, they will have to pay to learn, or hope for some sort of scholarship.
 
Again it baffles me how the school decision makers who long for higher scores in their schools could ever allow the elimination of the very programs that can contribute to those higher scores.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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