Why Math, Why not Music?

Subject – Math / No Music? Is it our choice of subjects or the child’s interest? For some Math can be Music and for some others Music can be Math. Lets respect the choice as well the subject and create limitless living for children.

Overwhelming negative feelings about math, over and above one’s measurable ability, affects students at all levels, from kindergarten to grad school.

Why Math

What if math was optional – an extracurricular subject – much like music.

What would happen if the primary purpose of learning math, akin to music, was to enjoy it (and not necessarily learn music). In any case, most of us do not learn music yet most of us enjoy some form of it. Some children like math or sports or reading naturally and some don’t. Some like loads of friends while some like to be with themselves.

In music, most of us sing out of tune/ rhythm and we do not mind it and we still sing (in bathrooms and everywhere else!)Most people if they do not like our singing typically just ask us to do so in private. What would happen if just like singing we were allowed to do math out-of-tune? And if by chance people did not like our math-mistakes – just let us commit them, like many, in private 🙂

In music when we need the satisfaction of accuracy, beauty and quality – we normally switch to our MP3 players – songs recorded by professionals/musicians. Similarly what would happen if in math we were allowed resort to calculators, apps or even take help of professionals/ mathematicians – in math – when requiring accuracy and quality.

Most of us do not learn music (as in go to classes) because that is not how we use it in our life. You see, in our lives – we listen to music. Similarly What would happen if – in math we were to know only how much we need in life. Most of us use math in our day to day life around four operators, few mathematical operations. measurements and to some extent percentages. These concepts are taught in grade 3 and grade 4. This means if at all we want to teach math – we can make it optional after 4th standard.

Also, Numbers like music, we can learn not in math classes but while playing games or doing shopping (most of us like either of these activities and many a time both). Note – most of the adults in the village where our campus is located, have not gone to school but know numbers sufficiently to live their life comfortably.

Sometimes people say, we need to learn math to develop critical and logical thinking. Is math the only way to develop critical and logical thinking? Why not games like chess, battleships, monopoly, card games etc.? Do we conclude that our humble elders living in villages lack critical and logical thinking? In fact, they can observe the phenomenon in their fields and homes and think about them in terms of cause and effect and can predict and estimate sometimes better than us educated ones!

Math in itself is beautiful – and like any other art gives joy to its explorer – then shouldn’t children be allowed to choose which art they want to explore. Some like to trek mountains, some like to trek algorithms – both are incomparable but both are beautiful, useful and joyous in their own way.

Just as we need not make everybody like art or sports or politics or history, we need not make everybody like math. We can let children and people live out of their choices!

Why not Music

What if music could replace Math?

Obviously the assumption is we would not like to add another subject as mandatory and hence replacement is the only way. Also, I agree that basic math – up to 4th/5ht standard is indeed required to equip everybody with basic computation (day to day math) skills

Almost everybody likes to listen to music. If something is so universal and considered by most as divine, we need to seriously consider its role in the development of children. Considering music’s sensorial, emotional, social and mental prowess, how about a daily dose of music?

Imagine a child is exposed to music for some time (let’s say 20 min) from standard1st standard to 10th. This could include

  • Singing together – anything from classical Aalaps to rap songs
  • Drumming – drum circles are super popular among children
  • Playing any musical instrument – Using anything to create music.
  • Dancing together on some music

When music is used as a group in any of the above activity, three aspects stand out

  1. Music can be done together- the whole group – completely different chemistry and synergy and resonance.
  2. An individual need not be accurate or harmonious or perfect – everything goes – joy is the real purpose.
  3. It is kinesthetic, visual (loads of imagery) and auditory – It incites verbal, mathematical, social, self, body and yes musical – six out of eight multiple intelligences. It’s a complete mind-heart-body-soul workout

With Music, there need not be any examination, no grading, no comparison. Those who want to take it forward can get into advanced training, while ALL continue their half-hour dosage of energy and bliss.

Let’s give children choice, while their inner being soar.