How to Apply Music in the Math Classroom

Math and music use principles that are applicable to both field; our system of music notation is set up using mathematical relationships. You can teach the concept of the x- and y-axes using the staff system, as it uses similar mathematical concepts to represent the relative highness or lowness of a pitch and the time during which the pitches occur.

Step 1

Draw a horizontal line across the board. It must be large enough for all of the students to be able to see it, approximately two feet.

Step 2

Draw four equally spaced notches on the horizontal line. These will represent beats. Explain that in common time there are four beats in every measure of music. Number the notches from 1 to 4 from left to right.

Step 3

Draw the y-axis, to represent pitch, by drawing a vertical line on the side of the x-axis. Extend the line two feet above the horizontal line and two feet below it.

Step 4

Insert two equally spaced lines on either side of the horizontal line on the x-axis to make a musical staff. From top to bottom, label the notches with the following letters. F, D, B, G and E.

Step 5

Label the spaces between the lines to complete a musical alphabet. The spaces between the lines will be labeled E, C, A and F from top to bottom.

Step 6

Explain that the musical staff is essentially an x- and y-axis. The x-axis controls time and rhythm while the y-axis controls pitch.


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