What’s the secret to Maths?
What’s the secret to Maths? …Schubert (the dog)
Let me start by introducing Schubert. Yes, the prolific Austrian composer who died at just 31 years of age. But also, my six month old snow white Samoyed puppy. He’s so cute he has been known to turn cat lovers into goo.
First, the original Schubert of the 1800’s.
A vast ocean of research suggests that early music tuition improves a child’s Maths skills significantly. Even Einstein himself said that his great love of music was extraordinarily helpful to him in his work!
Mathematical learning benefits are created by the similarity of rhythms and patterns and the ability to decode notes and symbols. These links encompass the core principles of numbers, patterns, proportions, measurement, geometry and ratios (to name just a few).
Studies of younger children suggest that gains in maths ability increase directly according to the number of years that child has active music tuition. It is also believed that the younger the child is when they begin learning music, the greater the gains will be.
A number of academic studies recently zeroed in on classical music, showing that listening benefits the brain, sleep patterns, the immune system and stress levels — all helpful when facing those all-important end-of-term exams.
Onto Schubert the dog.
There is endless research on the benefits of children having contact with pets. It can teach a range of important life lessons on responsibility, compassion, empathy, kindness, friendship, and patience. There’s even evidence showing that having a pet at home can reduce the risk of developing common allergies and asthma.
What may be less widely known however are the secondary benefits. A US study highlighted that children with animals at home are more likely to have higher self-esteem, a vital attribute of good learners. Pets have also been known to help support children who struggle with reading.
Reading to a curled up dog or cat is a risk free endeavour, unlike reading to a grown up. Over time, self confidence grows in the child and the barriers dissolve.
In the workplace, a number of scientific studies have reported substantial benefits from welcoming in pets. Benefits were observed across all employees (not just those who owned pets) and included lower stress levels, more communication, higher moral and notably more productivity.
So there you have it. Schubert is the magic mathematics formula – the music and the dog.