Math sometimes gets a bad rap because students think it’s difficult or boring. Music, on the other hand, engages students, lightens moods and elicits excitement.
It’s been proven over the years that listening to music “lights” up the brain. Neuroscientists have shown through extensive research how music directly activates brain regions responsible for attention, motivation, memory and emotion. These activities are critical for sustained and successful learning.
What are math music videos and what do they cover?
Instructional math music videos are typically created by math educators, who have some sort of musical background. Because educators are creating these videos, they also determine what content to cover. The lyrical content in these videos convey math-based information that students need to learn. Math music videos can be animated, have people performing the songs or include a combination of both. Interactive, multi-sensory music videos give students the opportunity to watch, hear, sing and dance while they learn math.
Who benefits from math music videos?
Math music videos are a way for educators to convey math content in a novel, exciting and engaging manner. These videos support students of various learning styles and abilities. They are effective instructional tools for Tier 1, 2 and 3 instruction; SPED; rapid remediation; refreshers and students with IEPs. This inclusive learning solution also supports ELL students. Math songs and singalongs have been a successful tool for young math learners. Instructional math music videos are intended to take things a step further as students move up through elementary school and into middle and high school. This fun, engaging and effective solution breaks down complex topics into songs and visualization for students of various backgrounds and abilities.
How effective has this instructional solution proven to be?
Are all math music videos the same? Unfortunately, no. Most math music videos focus on rote memorization, do not have high production value and can also be of variable learning quality. However, some innovative solutions like Muzology have "cracked the code" and changed this. Muzology has developed rigorous instructional math music videos with catchy tunes, great singers and high quality graphics; these videos are mapped to standards and transcend rote memorization by teaching math procedures, skills and concepts. Muzology achieved this by assembling a team of GRAMMY winning hit songwriters, cognitive psychologists, math educators and subject matter experts to craft rigorous instructional videos that are in a class of their own. Muzology’s videos are MTV-quality and provide an iterative pathway through critical pre-algebra topics. Videos also feature artists who promote diversity and inclusion. These videos are used to supplement instruction for students in grades 5-8 and as a remediation tool for students in grades 9-10.
Over a series of studies, Muzology’s music-based learning platform has been shown to improve student math achievement and enjoyment of math. One study reported that in a single week in a randomized controlled trial (comprised of 62 participants), low performing 6th graders who watched a series of music videos on fractions outperformed their peers who did not. The control group viewed videos with the same information presented conversationally.
Another pilot in Tampa, FL with over 2,700 students demonstrated that over a 9-week time frame, after using music as a learning technique, students’ quiz scores improved from an average of 56% to 84%.
Additionally, teachers who used this method consistently last academic year during the pandemic have reported increased student learning growth by 2+ years on nationally benchmarked assessments (while the majority of their peers fell behind in math).
How can math music videos be implemented in the classroom?
Math videos are beneficial for educators as they present challenging math topics in a clear and engaging manner, while adding fun to the classroom. On platforms like Muzology, music videos are mapped to standards and can be assigned to entire classes or individual students using a playlist feature, which also helps differentiate instruction. Playlists keep students in sync with class curriculum and pacing, can help students focus on areas of improvement, and offer the opportunity for students to learn in a self-paced manner. Educators can also assign playlists to support synchronous and asynchronous learning.
In addition to instructional music videos, full learning platforms like Muzology include gamified challenges that establish basic, proficient and advanced understanding of the information presented in the math music videos. After students watch the videos, they have the opportunity to test their knowledge by taking these multi-level quizzes, which include read-aloud options. Plus, teachers can see analytics that track student and class progress. At home, parents have access to the student dashboard and can see their child’s classroom success.
Videos also include written lyrics and cover math standards such as:
- Math vocabulary
- The number system
- Expressions and equations
- Ratios and proportions
What outcomes can I expect by using math music videos?
Further research supported by cognitive psychologists and curriculum experts shows that the use of visual math support makes math more comprehensible for all students. This solution helps students:
- Excel with current math curriculum
- Rapidly fill in proficiency gaps
- Review previously learned material
- Accelerate learning to get ahead
Many schools throughout the US have introduced math music videos to teach foundational topics and have reported a high level of satisfaction. Students typically notice improvement in their math skills, test scores and overall confidence, while educators find their students to have higher levels of engagement, self-efficacy, grit/perseverance and collaboration.
Using an interactive approach to teach math is a best practice approach—it can increase engagement, make learning concrete and amplify students’ math confidence.
Learn more about Muzology and how you can make learning math fast, fun and effective.