Experiences and Perceptions of Students in Music and Mathematics

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Since the time of Pythagoras, philosophers, educators, and researchers have theorized that connections exist between music and mathematics. While there is little doubt that engaging in musical or mathematical activities stimulates brain activity at high levels and that increased student involvement fosters a greater learning environment, several questions remain to determine if musical stimulation actually improves mathematic performance. This study took a qualitative approach that allowed 24 high school students to express their direct experiences with music and mathematics, as well as their perceptions of how the two fields are related. Participants were divided into four equal groups based on ... continued below

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vii, 167 pages : color illustrations

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Cranmore, Jeff L. May 2014.

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  • Cranmore, Jeff L.

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Since the time of Pythagoras, philosophers, educators, and researchers have theorized that connections exist between music and mathematics. While there is little doubt that engaging in musical or mathematical activities stimulates brain activity at high levels and that increased student involvement fosters a greater learning environment, several questions remain to determine if musical stimulation actually improves mathematic performance. This study took a qualitative approach that allowed 24 high school students to express their direct experiences with music and mathematics, as well as their perceptions of how the two fields are related. Participants were divided into four equal groups based on school music participation and level of mathematic achievement, as determined by their performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). Students participated in a series of three interviews addressing their experiences in both music and mathematics, and took the Multiple Intelligences Developmental Assessment Scales (MIDAS). TAKS data and MIDAS information were triangulated with interview findings. Using a multiple intelligence lens, this study addressed the following questions: (a) How do students perceive themselves as musicians and mathematicians? (b) What experiences do students have in the fields of music and mathematics? (c) Where do students perceive themselves continuing in the fields of music and mathematics? and (d) How do students perceive the fields of music and mathematics relating to each other? Contrary to most existing literature, the students who perceived a connection between the two fields saw mathematics driving a deeper understanding of the musical element of rhythm. Not surprisingly, students with rich backgrounds in music and mathematics had a higher perception of the importance of those fields. Further, it became readily apparent that test data often played a minimal role in shaping student perceptions of themselves in the field of mathematics. Finally, it became apparent from listening to the experiences of high school students, there are many growth areas for schools in order to meet the needs of their students.

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vii, 167 pages : color illustrations

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  • May 2014

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  • March 8, 2015, 5:44 p.m.

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  • Nov. 16, 2016, 1:13 p.m.

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Cranmore, Jeff L. Experiences and Perceptions of Students in Music and Mathematics, dissertation, May 2014; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500113/: accessed November 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .