Teaching mathematics with music: a pilot study

Tara Julia Hamilton, Julieanne Doai, Andrew Milne, Vicky Saisanas, Andrea Calilhanna, Courtney Hilton, Micah Goldwater, Richard Cohn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


A solid foundation in mathematics is paramount to a comprehensive STEM education. Many students, however, struggle with connecting mathematical concepts with their everyday life and find its symbolic nomenclature unintuitive; subsequently this can be a significant barrier for many students in undertaking further STEM studies. In this paper we describe a pilot study which aims to determine whether understanding in mathematics, and specifically, fractions, equivalence, ordinance, and division, improves when we employ music and musical rhythm in our lessons. This pilot study is currently being trialed at a public high school in Sydney's South-West and despite the fact that the study is ongoing, preliminary data suggest students are responding to this novel teaching methodology. In this paper we report increases in both test performance and, importantly, student engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 2018 IEEE International Conference onTeaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering (TALE)
EditorsMark J. W. Lee, Sasha Nikolic, Montserrat Ros, Jun Shen, Leon C. U. Lei, Gary K. W. Wong, Neelakantam Venkatarayalu
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781538665220, 9781538665213
ISBN (Print)9781538665237
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event2018 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering, TALE 2018 - Wollongong, Australia
Duration: 4 Dec 20187 Dec 2018

Publication series

ISSN (Print)2374-0191
ISSN (Electronic)2470-6698


Conference2018 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering, TALE 2018


  • STEM education
  • STEAM education
  • K-12 mathematics
  • music education
  • analogical encoding


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