Life Lessons from the childhood of Einstein
7. Orchestrate connections in your thinking
I was given violin lessons when I was six years old and by the time I was 14 I was playing Beethoven and Mozart sonatas. My favorites were Mozart, Bach and Handel. I was a passionate violist most of my life. But I lost interest in music until I discovered that music and math had a lot in common. Both are born of the same source and complement each other.
When I hear students say they do not like math, I see those same children singing, clapping their hands, moving themselves to music. This is mathematics!!
Of all the subjects, math is most closely connected to music. Music is all based on fractions and patterns. Music focuses on divisions of time for the rhythm. Counting is fundamental to playing music. One must count beats per measure and count how long to hold notes. There are patterns to music. There is geometry in music because students use shapes to remember the correct finger positions for notes or chords. Reading music requires an understanding of ratios and proportions. Bach and Mozart were mathematical in their music. Mozart’s music is so pure and beautiful that I see it as a refection of the inner beauty of the universe.
It was the famous mathematician named Pythagoras who also saw that math and music had much in common. He played the string instrument called the lyre. He noticed that the length of strings and where you strike the strings changed the pitch in a mathematical way. This caught my interest and I was hooked on music for the rest of my life. I found a connection that sparked my interest. Whenever I felt that I had come to the end of the road and unable to answer the questions I pondered over or into a difficult situation, I would take refuge in music and that would usually resolve all my difficulties.
Orchestrate connections in your thinking