More than Counting Beats: Connecting Music and Mathematics in the Primary Classroom


  • Robyn Trinick University of Auckland
  • Gail Ledger University of Auckland
  • Karen Major University of Auckland
  • Pam Perger University of Auckland



Connections between music and mathematics have been of interest to scholars as far back as the time of Pythagoras. In Aotearoa-New Zealand, the use of songs and chants as aids for memorising information such as number patterns and names of geometrical shapes is common practice in early childhood centres and primary classrooms. While such practices are beneficial for purposes of recall, the authors of this article share the belief that, if we also examine the thinking processes involved in music and mathematics learning, there are more profound connections between the two domains that could enhance mathematical learning. The combination of music and mathematics and the analogous concept development that may arise equates to more than a sum of the constituent parts. In this article, three educators share their teaching experiences involving mathematics and music. Each narrative is discussed from a theoretical perspective, bringing together the tacit knowledge of experienced teachers and their perceptions of how the two fields are related, supported by, and build on research in their respective fields. The intention of the article is to establish a foundation for further research in the field.