How Musical Play Equipment Develops Maths Skills

Wednesday, 26th February 2020 9:00 am

Musical play equipment provides the perfect opportunity for children to express themselves musically without worrying about making too much noise. Initially, children will just play the instruments chaotically progressing to more ordered pieces. Some children will go on to learn an instrument and enjoy being able to join music groups wherever they go in life.

Musical play equipment doesn’t only encourage children to express themselves creatively it may help to improve maths skills. Scientist are unclear if people with good mathematical skills have natural leanings to music or vice versa. However, they all agree that learning how to read music and play an instrument improves cognitive executive function.

Every time we learn a new skill our brain forms new neural pathways which enable us to think better and perform tasks more effectively. Professor Anita Collins of Canberra University is a music and neuroscience specialist. She suggests that music education enables people to function at a much higher cognitive level, “the brains of musicians can learn faster, excel at more complex topics and think creatively about problems.” (Source: Livescience.com)

Learning how to play a musical instrument has many positive benefits for children including; improved problem-solving skills, the ability to apply logic, identify patterns and reduces anxiety. Musical play equipment is a natural catalyst to inspire children to learn how to play an instrument. Children are able to access the musical instruments during playtime and are able to compose and perform their music in front of their peers. Playing an instrument may not produce a class full of prodigies but it will give children the skills and confidence to learn more effectively.

Maths And Music

The question as to whether learning to play a musical instrument improves maths skills is extremely difficult to answer. This is because there are many factors such as economics, cognitive skills and parental involvement. As a rule, successful musicians tend to be good at maths but not all mathematicians are musical. It is unclear if music helps to develop maths skills or maths helps to develop music skills or if they develop at the same time.

Reading and playing music requires a good understanding of fractions and ratios which are complex mathematical skills. There are four beats in a bar and each fraction of these notes is denoted by a different note value with a specific name. For example, a breve is a whole note, a semibreve is half a note, crochet is quarter and a quaver is an eighth. There are many more fractions of notes such as the demisemihemidemisemiquaver (two hundred and fifty-sixth note) which is very rare.

Musicians don’t consciously make maths calculations while they are playing in an orchestra in the same way bowlers don’t think about the aerodynamics in their bowling. There is little evidence to support the theory that mathematical skills are transferred to musical skills. Some people have a natural aptitude for maths, music or both while others have to try much harder. Playing an instrument is enjoyable at any level and provides many benefits that help children to thrive in everyday life.

The Benefits Of Musical Play Equipment

Music is described as a collection of ordered sounds, tones and silence put together in a composition. This is a very benign description of a universal medium that provokes many different emotions and images across different generations and cultures. A piece of music or song takes you back in time to a memorable moment. Music is a very powerful medium that is extremely beneficial in terms of social, emotional and physical development.

Playing an instrument rewires the brain increasing cognition and problem skills. The main benefits of playing music include; increasing memory, improves organisation skills, makes you a team player, improves concentration and perseverance. Instruments such as piano, saxophone and guitar are tuned instruments as are percussion instruments such as xylophone, glockenspiel and bells. All of the instruments in an orchestra require the musicians to follow musical notation otherwise it would just sound like a din.

If you are interested in installing musical play equipment in your playground contact us and we would be happy to offer advice.