Music educator Chad Criswell offers easy cross-curricular teaching ideas for math or music teachers.Included: Links to more music resources and worksheets.
Music teachers are well aware of the very close link between math and music. Without mathematics, music simply would not exist.
The rhythms of a piece of music are based on a standard unit of time (known as a measure) that can be subdivided in many different ways. Drawing parallels between pop music and math concepts is a great way to reinforce those cross-curricular concepts while using a strong mental hook to keep students attention. Try these simple ideas to incorporate music or mathematics into your next lesson.
The beats in a piece of music are the pulses you tap your feet to while listening to it. Begin by proposing the notion that those beats are durations rather than instants in time. Draw a long horizontal rectangle on the board. That represents a full measure of music.
Once students understand the concept of beats and measures, the discussion can be taken to the next level and common musical symbols can be used as a way to do fractional math.
Music can be a lot more complicated than this, but the examples above relate to the most common time signature used in music (4/4 time) and the most commonly-heard time signature in popular music. Finding a piece of music to help demonstrate those concepts is as easy as listening to the radio or borrowing a student's iPod. Further, many great free music worksheets related to these and other musical concepts are available for use in the classroom. Try to incorporate these tricks into either a math or music class to show just how closely related these two subjects truly are.