Does Musical Talent Affect Math Skills? - Delphi Boston Delphi Boston

Does Musical Talent Affect Math Skills?

This is a tricky equation – reading musical notes is about seeing and understanding patterns, much like solving mathematical equations. Science has been trying to discover the correlation between these two for quite a long time! Does music help with math, or does math help with music?

While there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence that a person’s’ musical talent directly effects an increase performance in math, there has been much evidence that points to an increase in cognitive abilities.

Nadine Gaab, the principal investigator of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital states “If you play a musical instrument, your brain shows changes,  Auditory, because you’re using your ears a lot … and then motor because you’re doing a lot of practice with your fingers and arms”. Playing instruments requires a lot of unique movements with your hands that trains your brain to change.

Music can be expressed mathematically. Musicians understand intervals and various types of measurements but that does not necessarily mean they are automatically good at math. Those with musical training have heightened skills in an area called Executive Functioning. This involves mental processes that allows the brain to plan, focus, remember directions and successfully multitask. Musicians are excellent at switching tasks and rules quickly, but this could just be a correlation.

While the scientific data isn’t conclusive, there have been strong correlations between a person’s musical talent linking them to higher cognitive abilities that ultimately make grasping the rules of math easier.


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