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Literature Review on the Link Between Music Lessons and Mathematics Lessons

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Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

In my literature review, I have compiled nine sources and discussed their content in detail, as well as individually stated their usefulness and validity to my research, their reliability, and any limitations I might have had in using those sources. This literature review serves to provide me clear insight on the different aspects that link to my research question, which are essentially directly connected to music and/or mathematics. This review shall also aid me in formulating a well-balanced discussion.

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Music Training and Mathematics Achievement of Ninth Graders

I chose this source because it is a real-time study done on secondary school students and examines the link between music lessons and mathematics lessons in detail. This source refers to a study done on 113 ninth-grader students to examine the link between formal musical training and composite mathematic scores, by examining their ITBS (Iowa Tests of Basic Skills) scores. This test aimed to see whether results differed based on gender, instrument/s played by the student, and whether the student received private music training or music lessons at school. The purpose of this study was to see whether there were significant relations between different types of music training and the students' mathematics achievement levels.

In this study, 45 of the participants were male and 68 of them were female. The results of this study show that no significant difference was found between the ITBS scores of male students and ITBS scores of female students who took part of the study. Of these students, 36 students received private music lessons while 77 received music lessons at school. Although no significant difference was found between these two groups, it has to be noted that 20 of the 36 scholars received private music lessons for over two years. Comparing this group of 20 people with the 77 scholars who received music lessons at school showed that the 20 private music trainees had significantly higher ITBS scores.

Of the 36 students who received private training, 20 of them had keyboard lessons while the other 16 students received music lessons on instruments other than the keyboard. One very significant finding is that the ITBS scores of the 20 keyboard students were much higher than the 16 students who did not have keyboard lessons. This may indicate that keyboard training might be more beneficial in impacting mathematical results positively than music training in other instruments.

In all, the study's results support the concept that music training enhances mathematical skills, especially when the students receive private music lessons for over two years. Maximum benefit can be achieved if the instrument being taught is the keyboard, and if the scholar receives both private music lessons as well as music lessons in school.

The limitations of this source are that actual graphs/charts are not provided to visually display the results. The usefulness of this source is that it involves the results of 113 scholars. The source is highly reliable as it is a formal study provided by the department of education of the United States, and it also provides a bibliography of its sources. The results of this source would not be highly valid in 2018 since the document was published in 1998 and academic training techniques can change significantly in 20 years, which means that results could vary distinctly if the same study was to be done in 2018.

Integrating Middle School Mathematics into the Music Classroom

I chose this source because it is a project that shows a link between music and mathematics when music is taught to scholars while integrating mathematical concepts simultaneously. This project was made due to music lessons taking away instructional time that could be used to focus on academic subjects (such as mathematics) that affect standardized test scores, which is not affected by music lessons. However, music education is important because it stimulates creativity, and it aids in providing a well-rounded education. In this project, music teachers integrated mathematical skills training into teaching music. This was done by techniques such as teaching students how to count rhythm, writing melodies in correct time signature, teaching different note values, the importance of playing with correct timing, and counting music beats per bar. Teaching the importance of playing music on time is essential to music training, and calculating note values is a mathematical skill since time and note values are numerical concepts. As a result, this project was successful in increasing standardized test scores which are influenced by mathematical skills and was also successful in providing a well-rounded education by stimulating both the logical thinking centers of scholars' brains while simultaneously stimulating their creativity. This project increased academic success in students.

This could prove that music training aids students in developing their mathematical skills and in increasing mathematical achievement levels.

This source is reliable because it is a doctoral dissertation published by a person who has completed a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) degree. The results are not highly useful because statistics of comparing standardized test scores before the project with standardized test scores after the establishment of the project have not been provided or mentioned, which is a limitation of this source. However, it clearly states the usefulness of integrating mathematics and music resulting in increased chance of achieving higher test scores which makes this source qualified enough to be included in my research task.

Music and mathematics.

I chose this source because it discusses with intricate detail the relation between frequency and musical pitches. Frequency is also a topic taught in mathematics and deals with numbers. Music intervals (the steps between consecutive musical notes) are very important to be considered when composing and playing music, because music notes need to be in a certain pitch to be in harmony. Harmony is important to produce high-quality sounding music.

This source has very limited usefulness to my research task because it does not compare music skills with mathematical scores, which is the essence of my research. Therefore, that is my limitation of using this source as it is not fully valid to provide completely relevant information for my research question. It is extremely reliable because it is a formal document released by Oxford University Press.

Does Music Give You Math Skills? It's a Tricky Equation

This source discusses the fact that learning an instrument improves the functioning of the brain's motor and auditory cortices, therefore developing brain function. The article mentions that heightened skills in an area called executive functioning are evident in children and adults with musical training. Development of the executive functioning area in the brain is a vital aspect of increasing brain functioning to allow improvement of planning skills, concentration ability, multi-tasking ability, and instruction-following skills. Development of such skills aids mathematical abilities because mathematics requires complex problem-solving skills. Therefore, some scientists conclude that music education allows for increased cognitive performance. However, this article also raises the possibility that maybe there is no direct correlation between music training and mathematical skills, and maybe the people who choose to qualify in both mathematics and music just happen to be genetically born with music and mathematical talents. There is no evidence for the previously mentioned sentence, though.

I chose this source because the article contains statements said by experts such as Nadine Gaab, the principal investigator at the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children's Hospital, and Robert Slevc, assistant professor in the psychology department at the University of Maryland. This makes my source highly reliable. The source is also highly valid to contributing relevant information to my research question.

Kids' Music Lessons Have Lasting Brain Benefits

This source discusses how adults who have music lessons since childhood score higher in cognitive tests over adults who have never had have music lessons. The source says that the brains of musicians have enhanced neural responses to complex sounds than brains of non-musicians. The presence of enhanced neural responses indicates strong neural pathways in the brain, which indicates higher ability to remember information and higher quality of retained visual and auditory memory.

This source supports the idea of music training enhancing brain function. This source is reliable due to the information being given by experts in neuroscience and in psychology. It is highly valid as it is very relevant to my research question and the article was published in 2012. The limitations of this source are that it only provides a link between music and the brain and makes no reference to mathematical performance. This makes it partially valid to my research task.

Cognitive And Metacocognitive Performance On Mathematics

This source concentrates on a detailed discussion of a study that was done to compare young students' metacognition and cognition skills in relation to their recent mathematical training and performance. Metacognition is a higher-order skill.

The participants' cognitive skills were measured through a series of methods. The participants were encouraged to play a few memory games at the time of testing, such as "Pexeso," which is also named Concentration. In this game, pairs of cards are laid face-down on a flat surface randomly and the participant has to pick up two cards at a time and see whether they match or not. Memory skills are tested in this game. The speed of the participants' ability to recall the visuals on the face of cards was taken down. A few other testing methods were also used such as playing vocabulary quizzes.

The study had two purposes that correlate with each other. The first purpose was to explore the impact of working memory and processing efficiency on metacognitive processes in respect to mathematics and secondly to explore if the above interrelations tend to undergo changes with training and development

The testing was repeated again after teaching the students mathematic topics that were slightly complex than what they were accustomed to. This study found that there is "a very close relation between the development of mathematical performance, the development of metacognition and the development of processing efficiency and working memory," and " the complexity and the constructions in mathematics at a particular age reflect to a large extend the available processing and representational resources of the human mind."

This source helps me understand the benefit of using mathematics as a tool to brain development in detail, which is why I chose to include it in my task as I found it quite useful. However, a large limitation that I faced in using this source is the fact that it does not explore any relation between mathematics accomplishment and musical training, which is the basis of my research task. That fact makes this source partially valid. This source is reliable because it has been provided by the University of Cyprus as well as Frederick Institute of Technology through the Department of Education of Cyprus.

Mozart effect

This source discusses the concept of the "Mozart effect". It suggests that numerous studies have concluded that listening to classical music, particularly music that has been composed by the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, can have effects on increasing performance on particular mental tasks such as spatial-temporal reasoning. It mentions the popularity of the Mozart effect in that, it is widely believed to temporarily increase one's IQ (intelligence quotient).

This source is useful to me because it is directly related to music, which makes it valid to my research. It is highly reliable to me as a comprehensive reference list is provided in the source. My limitation to using this source is that it makes no mention of mathematics, which is an integral aspect of my task.

What Is Spatial-Temporal Reasoning?

This source defines spatial-temporal reasoning as "the cognitive ability to picture a spatial pattern and understand how items or pieces can fit into that space" and also mentions that young children playing musical instruments may often show having high capacities for different kinds of spatial-temporal thought. According to this source, musical talent is one of the most widely-acknowledged uses of spatial-temporal reasoning.

I chose this source because it explores the relationship between capacity of spatial-temporal reasoning and musical inclination in young children. This makes it valid and useful to my research. However, the source has low reliability since it does not provide clear references. My limitation to using this source is that it does not provide scientific reasoning about to what degree musical training in young children affects their capacity of spatial-temporal reasoning and it does not link to any real-time scientific studies conducted on this topic.

Listening to Music Enhances Spatial-Temporal Reasoning: Evidence for the "Mozart Effect"

I chose this source because it provides evidence that the "Mozart effect" exists. It mentions a 1993 report on Nature (an international journal of science) by Frances H. Rauscher, Gordon L. Shaw, and Catherine N. Ky. The report shows that college students' scores on spatial subtests of the Stanford-Binet IQ battery increased an equivalent of 8-9 IQ points for 10 to 15 minutes after listening to about 10 minutes of a Mozart Piano Sonata. Meanwhile, performance on spatial tasks did not improve following ten minutes of sitting in silence or listening to a tape of relaxation instructions designed to lower blood pressure.

The provision of statistics makes this source quite useful to me, as well as valid to my research since there is a link shown between musical exposure and performance on standardized IQ tests. This source is highly reliable as it provides a comprehensive reference list. My limitation of using this source is that it does not discuss mathematical performance.

Students need Brain Breaks! Here's why--plus how to help

I chose this source because it makes a point about the importance of study breaks for children since they help boost their concentration levels when in a lesson. Having high concentration is beneficial for successful academic performance, which is related to my topic which involved improving scores in mathematics. Therefore, this source is useful and valid to me.

This source contains and supports information provided by a pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom, which makes this source reliable to use. The limitation I have to using this source is the fact that it is a blog article, which might mean that some of the information contained in it could be biased.

The Spatial-Temporal Reasoning States of Children Who Play a Musical Instrument, Regarding the Mathematics Lesson: Teachers’ Views

I chose this source because it is a study provided by a scientific journal which discusses the effect of having music lessons on mathematical performance, by making references to the spatial-temporal reasoning ability of students. This journal supports the idea that making children have music lessons can develop their temporal-thinking ability and thus make them more successful in having higher mathematics grades. The content of this source makes it highly valid and useful to my research task.

This source is highly reliable as it is provided by a scientific journal, and I have no limitations to using this source as it was published in 2016 which means that the information provided in it is fairly updated information.

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