The Music and Math Connection Story
Growing out of a long-term interest and research involvement in interdisciplinary programs at both the university and K-12 levels, Dr. James Faulconer, Rothbaum Professor of Music at the University of Oklahoma, was asked to be part of a team evaluating such programs in institutions across America. In each locality highly motivated teachers lauded the benefits of the arts being integral to the curriculum. As more detailed discussions ensued, a real need emerged for specific materials to help teachers and students get to the heart of conceptual cross-curricular connections between subjects – in a fun and exciting way.
This involvement led to research and creative projects resulting in Music + Math X MIDI, a kit of math manipulatives developed for music/math study for grades 1-6 by award winning teacher Leah Nellis, Norman, Oklahoma with musical compositions and arrangements by Dr. Faulconer. This program, a part of MIDI for Kids, the nation’s largest independent after-school music program, became so successful and highly respected that a need for a program specifically designed for children ages 3-5 became apparent.
Having co-founded MIDI for Kids, Dr. Faulconer, and co-creator Erin Faulconer Hines, brought together respected teachers in the fields of music and math, researchers, musicians and administrators across the mid-west to develop All Aboard, the Music and Math Connection. This program uses the excitement of music to stimulate brain training for children in three important areas: 1) pattern recognition, 2) abstract reasoning, and 3) spatial-temporal task performance. At the heart of the program is a commitment to provide a co-equal study of both subjects (math and music) and, in so doing, uniquely illuminates both subjects.