Recent music neuroscience research indicates that steady beat affects attention behaviors in young children. From the earliest developmental stage, music and math are related in the brain. According to Dr. Kamille Geist, musical elements such as steady beat, rhythm, melody, and tempo possess fundamental mathematical principles such as spatial reasoning, sequencing, counting, pattern identification, and one-to-one correspondence. Children are able to distinguish patterns in musical interventions, and are able to transfer that knowledge academically. In this particular study, it is shown that beat is processed in the premotor cortex of the brain, which is also used to help focus one’s attention. The results of this study indicate that children have the potential to be more engaged when listening to steady beats than when listening to verbal instructions only. Therefore, it is conceivable that listening to a steady beat pattern during mathematics teaching interventions in the early childhood classroom could promote better attention and increased engagement in young children.
In using this knowledge, I decided to develop an intervention to help the children that I see be more confident in their math skills, but have fun doing so. In this intervention, shapes are represented as movements known as body percussion. Body percussion is keeping a beat with our bodies while stomping, clapping, patting, or snapping. First, clients are able to distinguish between the different shapes then we pair a movement with each shape. They then create their own song using the different shapes and forming patterns, cognitively connecting the shape with the movement. Lastly, their original song is set to a pop song, which provides us with a steady beat. All the while, they are learning mathematical concepts in a fun and musical way.