The many conclusions of research projects are fascinating, but can be a far stretch from relevant. In a previous MathNEXUS, I reflected on one example that explored assumed connections between mathematics and music.
Let me add some more fuel and stoke the fire. In 1999, D. Dodge and C. Heroman, observing very yound children, concluded: "listening to and
making music froms strong connections in the brain. These are the same connections that are used to solve math problems."
Then, in 2002, R. Deasy showed connections between music experiences, spatial reasoning, and mathematical skills.
Finally, going back to 1999, Shaw and his UC-Irvine colleagues who did the 1993 study, investigated the connection between taking piano lessons and learning mathematics via a computer game. In a four-month study, the students playing the game either got an English lesson or took piano lessons, with the piano students scoring 27% higher on a math problem solving exam...and 100% higher ompared to students who neither played the game nor took piano lessons.
Shaw concluded: "piano instruction is thought to enhance the brain's 'hard-wiring' for spatial-temporal reasoning, or the ability to visualize ratios, fractions, proportions, and thinking in space and time."
Now, these are all studies with young children...what is the connection for older students?
Source: C. Bernhard's ""The M(ath) & M(usic) Connection," Oregon Mathematics Teacher, Jan/Feb 2011