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Title: Music learning and mathematics achievement : a real-world study in English primary schools
Author: Sanders, Edel Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 154X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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Music Learning and Mathematics Achievement: A Real-World Study in English Primary Schools Edel Marie Sanders Abstract This study examines the potential for music education to enhance children's mathematical achievement and understanding. Psychological and neuroscientific research on the relationship between music and mathematics has grown considerably in recent years. Much of this, however, has been laboratory-based, short-term or small-scale research. The present study contributes to the literature by focusing on specific musical and mathematical elements, working principally through the medium of singing and setting the study in five primary schools over a full school year. Nearly 200 children aged seven to eight years, in six school classes, experienced structured weekly music lessons, congruent with English National Curriculum objectives for music but with specific foci. The quasi-experimental design employed two independent variable categories: musical focus (form, pitch relationships or rhythm) and mathematical teaching emphasis (implicit or explicit). In all other respects, lesson content was kept as constant as possible. Pretests and posttests in standardised behavioural measures of musical, spatial and mathematical thinking were administered to all children. Statistical analyses (two-way mixed ANOVAs) of student scores in these tests reveal positive significant gains in most comparisons over normative progress in mathematics for all musical emphases and both pedagogical conditions with slightly greater effects in the mathematically explicit lessons. This investigation addresses concerns that UK and US governments' quests for higher standards in mathematics typically result in impoverished curricula with limited access to the arts. In showing that active musical engagement over time can improve mathematical achievement, as hypothesised, this work adds to a growing body of research suggesting that policy-makers and educationalists should reconsider curriculum balance.
Supervisor: Hargreaves, Linda Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Music ; Mathematics ; Cognition ; Music-Mathematics ; Music Education ; Mathematics Education ; Singing in Schools ; Sanders ; Cambridge PhD ; Learning through Music ; Learning ; Learning in the Arts ; Brain Plasticity