The junior school where music boosted math results

The junior school where music boosted math results


norman lebrecht

October 08, 2017

From the Guardian:

At Feversham, the headteacher, Naveed Idrees, has embedded music, drama and art into every part of the school day, with up to six hours of music a week for every child, and with remarkable results. Seven years ago Feversham was in special measures and making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Today it is rated “good” by Ofsted and is in the top 10% nationally for pupil progress in reading, writing and maths…

Read on here.


  • Britcellist says:

    Bravo. That should be the norm for all schools especially in the early years. I read an article once that said Mozart was especially good for cerebral work. Personally I think Bach is the top, but hey, just having classical music in schools every day is the tops.

    • Don Niperi Septo says:

      It depends some kids would do equally well with Purple Haze blaring in the background. It would need a randomised controlled trial to determine whether music would make any difference at all and which types. When I visit the bank, a radio is always blaring out radio 1 or 2 I always turn it off so we can all suffer in silence which as Brendel pointed out is an anagram of listen!

  • Bruce says:

    I’m one of those musicians who is terrible at math. (Yes, we exist.)

    What studying music did for me was to teach me standards and a work ethic: no matter how “talented” you are, it will only get you so far. A good teacher will always push you to the point where your talent will no longer help you, and you have to resort to hard work. Getting used to the “try, fail — try again, fail again — fail better” method (to paraphrase Beckett) makes you able to persevere, recognize your progress on the “failure spectrum,” and eventually succeed.

    Don’t get me wrong. Algebra in 9th grade was still a horrible experience (and when I went back to school in my late 40’s, it was horrible again), but I knew I could do OK if I just worked hard. And I did.

    BTW, in my second round of schooling, Angela Hewitt’s Bach recordings (the Partitas and the French & English Suites) really helped me concentrate while studying. Something about the intersection of logic and beauty, which I had trouble finding in math.

    • Don Niperi Septo says:

      Difficult to correlate music ability with mathematics ability. Beethoven a fantastic pianist even when stone deaf was terrible at sums, so was Schubert which explains why he always was done by publishers!

  • Sue says:

    I started studying piano and theory in my mid 30’s; when working my way through the theory/musicianship grades I realized how similar to mathematics music actually is. I was no good at the latter at school as I paid no attention to the basics, but when I was completing four part and two part harmonic exercises for music and having to remember a raft of rules for doing so it occurred to me that the similarity between mathematics and music was problem solving!! Yes, how do you apply the rules and the knowledge to make music is the same as understanding what you can do in mathematics – and also Medicine. See; I’m not just a pretty face!:-)

  • Peter says:

    Why oh why, given that this “discovery” comes round at least once every 5 years, does virtually nobody take any notice of it? That fMRIs of people listening to music show the whole brain is lit up suggests at the very least it’s a great neurological workout.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    We are not in America so your headline would be better saying MathS