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Summer SAVY Session 5, Day 4 Math and Music

Posted by on Thursday, July 20, 2023 in blog, SAVY.

Today’s goal was to help our young mathematical musicians understand the intricate relationship of repeating patterns through math and music. We explored the use of motifs in music and learned how to identify these phrases that are often repeated with slight modifications through a piece. Through some exciting activities like “Boomwhacking” and line dancing, we aimed to provide a hands-on experience that would deepen their understanding and appreciation of these mathematical repetitions in music.

The foundation of our exploration began with patterns—a fundamental concept that is present in both mathematics and music. Our students practiced pattern recognition and creation in math through algebraic and geometric sequences, Pascal’s triangle, Fibonacci sequence, and other more advanced patterns. We also looked at how these

sequences of numbers are present in music and correlate to motifs, fugues, the additive principle and so much more in both musical and visual art. Through various interactive activities, they developed their ability to identify patterns in different contexts, including numbers, shapes, and musical rhythms.

To further emphasize the connection between math and music, we engaged in some line dancing — an enjoyable way to showcase patterns in a collaborative and energetic manner. As our students stepped, twirled, and moved in unison, they witnessed how dance moves could be represented through mathematical patterns. By understanding the repetition and symmetry of dance routines, they recognized that mathematical concepts, such as geometric shapes and sequences, underpin the choreography. This engaging activity allowed them to see the beauty of math in motion and appreciate the role it plays in music and dance. We danced to many songs that I’m sure your students would LOVE to teach you! Make sure they teach you the basics (K-step, grapevine, heel taps, and more) before they dive in!

Throughout the day, our students experienced the interplay between math and music and developed a deeper understanding of their interconnectedness. By observing and actively participating in line dancing, they uncovered the hidden patterns that permeate both disciplines. They realized that math provides structure and logic to music, while music breathes life and creativity back into math. By fostering these connections, we aim to inspire our students to explore the fascinating worlds of math and music with a renewed sense of curiosity and enthusiasm. We hope that this integration of subjects will empower them to think more holistically, nurture their problem-solving skills, and encourage creative expression.