Music and mathematics require thinking and using symbolic notations. Controversy exists regarding transfer from musical training to math achievements. The current study examined the effect of two integrated intervention programs representing holistic versus acoustic approaches, on fraction knowledge. Three classes of fourth graders attended 12 lessons on fractions: One class attended the ‘MusiMath’ holistic program (n = 30) focusing on rhythm within the melody. Another class attended the ‘Academic Music’ acoustic program (Courey et al., Educ Stud Math 81:251, 2012) (n = 25) which uses rhythm only. The third class received regular fraction lessons (comparison group, n = 22). Students in both music programs learned to write musical notes and perform rhythmic patterns through clapping and drumming as part of their fraction lessons. They worked toward adding musical notes to produce a number (fraction), and created addition/subtraction problems with musical notes. The music programs used a 4/4 time signature with whole, half, quarter and eighth notes. In the math lessons, the students learned the analogy between musical durations and 12,14,18 fractions, but also practiced fractions other than 12,14,18. Music and math were assessed before, immediately following, and 3‐ and 6‐months post‐intervention. Pre‐ to post‐intervention analyses indicated that only the ‘MusiMath’ group showed greater transfer to intervention‐trained and untrained fractions than the comparison group. The ‘Academic Music’ group showed a trend on trained fractions. Although both music groups outperformed the comparison group 3‐ and 6‐months post‐intervention on trained fractions, only the ‘MusiMath’ group demonstrated greater gains in untrained fractions. Gains were more evident in trained than in untrained fractions. A video of this article can be viewed at https://youtu.be/uJ_KWWDO624
The current study examined the effect of two integrated music‐math intervention programs (‘MusiMath’ acoustic vs. ‘Academic Music’ holistic approach) on fraction knowledge in fourth graders. The music programs explicitly made the analogy between whole, half, quarter and eighth notes and 12,14,18 fractions, and were tested 3‐ and 6‐months post‐intervention. An advantage in both intervention‐trained (12,14,18) and untrained (e.g., 13,15,16) fractions was found only for the holistic program vs. the comparison group.