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#3188126 01/24/22 04:49 AM
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I just started playing piano a couple of days ago at my niece house on her upright, however I always struggled with math, I can do basic math though and am quite good with other subjects but math had always been my bane, I don't know if I have Dyscalculia or something else, but yeah I do have a learning disability when it comes to math, I can't do algebra to save my life, is this going to hinder my piano playing abilities?

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Yeah, that's her piano, she invited me last Thursday, so I started learning the basics, she is no teacher herself though and she is still learning herself but she thought me some things like the c-g keys and the black piano keys, she thought me to play happy birthday, I played it quite well according to her but this is just the beginning, she said she will find a teacher/course she could send me to, maybe once or twice a week because you know, I have work and my days off are Thursdays (telework) Saturday and Sunday, I work in an office as a mere clerk (data entry, not much math needed)

So is struggling at math a block for being decent at the piano? Even though I do have the desire to learn it atleast to a good level as a hobby?

As I said before I am 31 and I never played piano before?

Thanks in advance.

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Originally Posted by LavaWave
I don't know if I have Dyscalculia or something else, but yeah I do have a learning disability when it comes to math, I can't do algebra to save my life, is this going to hinder my piano playing abilities?

It is possible that your problem with maths are caused by a specific deficit in your brain (maybe spatial processing in the parietal lobe). However, there are many different ways of learning to play the piano, and you may very well find a way that suits you.

Originally Posted by LavaWave
she thought me to play happy birthday, I played it quite well according to her but this is just the beginning

This is of course very good. It shows that you can learn to play a piece! Obviously, you have enough other capacities that can compensate for your deficit. (That is, if you have one.)

Originally Posted by LavaWave
As I said before I am 31 and I never played piano before

In ABF, there are many of us who were much older than you are when we started to play the piano. I was well into my fifties, and also had never played the piano before.

So go for it, LavaWave, and if you are really lucky, you may find that playing the piano somewhat improves your math skills!


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Misc information which may not be important, I created small games using game maker or clickteam products, as well as creating custom maps for Doom since I was like 12, my work since then has improved generally, so I think that would count for something, yeah maybe it will aid me in maths. smile

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I don't know the answer, but I don't think there's much downside to starting lessons and seeing what happens. A lot of people have difficulty or fear of math, but I don't remember anyone ever mentioning it as causing a problem with learning piano. Your question is quite interesting and I don't recall this topic ever appearing on PW.

What I think is true and fairly well documented is that ability and/or interest in math, music, and chess seem to go together. But that doesn't mean that difficulty in one of those areas means one will have difficulty in another area.

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Originally Posted by LavaWave
Misc information which may not be important, I created small games using game maker or clickteam products, as well as creating custom maps for Doom since I was like 12, my work since then has improved generally, so I think that would count for something, yeah maybe it will aid me in maths. smile

Yes, the more capacities you have, the better you will be able to compensate for any shortcomings that you also may have.


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I see, that's good to know. smile

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I don't think you need to worry. I'm great at math and it hasn't helped my piano playing a bit!

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To the best of my knowledge there is no scientific investigation that shows correlation between aptitude for mathematics and musical ability. In my case, like JR_YC, I am quite skilled in mathematics, but I don't use those skills for playing; I use my ears, my memory, and my body. And that works just fine for me.


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[quote=pianoloverus

What I think is true and fairly well documented is that ability and/or interest in math, music, and chess seem to go together. But that doesn't mean that difficulty in one of those areas means one will have difficulty in another area.[/quote]
I really haven't seen the link between mathematical aptitude and musical aptitude in my personal experience. Most of the piano students I've seen were not good at math, they were okay at it maybe, but nothing made me feel that they were good at it or had a natural aptitude for it. On the other hand, languages are a different matter. Pretty much all of them had very good language abilities, many could speak multiple language and pronounce foreign words, even those learned later in life. Many were interested in and are good at writing, classic literature and the like. I've seen some chess players as well and I think that is also an ability that goes along with music.

I have studied math in college. I don't think it influenced my musical ability much at all. I feel this is a myth. Musical ability seems to go hand in hand with working memory, which is also involved in mental calculations. So maybe on that particular task, musicians might be better on average.

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A story. I was mystified by the statement that music and math go hand in hand, and "if you're goot at math then you'll be good at music". I suck at math, but music has always come naturally to me, so what gives? One day I was in a hardware store, had forgotten my credit card, and only had a mass of coins. The cashier said "Just pour out the coins. Don't worry, I'm a mathematician." (math major, working part time?) She didn't count or add up the coins, she grouped them. Well, you'll know - 4 quarters = one dollar; two groups of 5 dimes = one dollar. A lightbulb went off in my head as I saw these patterns on the table. Music has always been patterns for me. Here were money number patterns. I told the cashier "Thank you. You've helped me understand my music teacher."

It took me decades to discover that often subjects are taught poorly, and we may suck at, or hate, subjects due to how they were taught. I suspect that the way math was taught actually made it hard for me. If I were a 'natural' maybe I'd have skimmed over that and found my own way. History and geography: hated them, got close to fails in school - When I started to look at music history, I had to go back to history and geography and by golly they are fascinating! It's how they were taught.

The games and maps you've been doing since 12 probably have a side of math to them, but not the math you were taught. Conversely, they'll have patterns, and music is patterns.

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Originally Posted by keystring
A story. I was mystified by the statement that music and math go hand in hand, and "if you're goot at math then you'll be good at music". I suck at math, but music has always come naturally to me, so what gives? One day I was in a hardware store, had forgotten my credit card, and only had a mass of coins. The cashier said "Just pour out the coins. Don't worry, I'm a mathematician." (math major, working part time?) She didn't count or add up the coins, she grouped them. Well, you'll know - 4 quarters = one dollar; two groups of 5 dimes = one dollar. A lightbulb went off in my head as I saw these patterns on the table. Music has always been patterns for me. Here were money number patterns. I told the cashier "Thank you. You've helped me understand my music teacher."

It took me decades to discover that often subjects are taught poorly, and we may suck at, or hate, subjects due to how they were taught. I suspect that the way math was taught actually made it hard for me. If I were a 'natural' maybe I'd have skimmed over that and found my own way. History and geography: hated them, got close to fails in school - When I started to look at music history, I had to go back to history and geography and by golly they are fascinating! It's how they were taught.
As a "natural" at math, I didn't have to be taught most of this stuff. Maybe just that sense is what constitutes talent.

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Originally Posted by keystring
A story. I was mystified by the statement that music and math go hand in hand, and "if you're goot at math then you'll be good at music". I suck at math, but music has always come naturally to me, so what gives? One day I was in a hardware store, had forgotten my credit card, and only had a mass of coins. The cashier said "Just pour out the coins. Don't worry, I'm a mathematician." (math major, working part time?) She didn't count or add up the coins, she grouped them. Well, you'll know - 4 quarters = one dollar; two groups of 5 dimes = one dollar. A lightbulb went off in my head as I saw these patterns on the table. Music has always been patterns for me. Here were money number patterns. I told the cashier "Thank you. You've helped me understand my music teacher."

It took me decades to discover that often subjects are taught poorly, and we may suck at, or hate, subjects due to how they were taught. I suspect that the way math was taught actually made it hard for me. If I were a 'natural' maybe I'd have skimmed over that and found my own way. History and geography: hated them, got close to fails in school - When I started to look at music history, I had to go back to history and geography and by golly they are fascinating! It's how they were taught.

The games and maps you've been doing since 12 probably have a side of math to them, but not the math you were taught. Conversely, they'll have patterns, and music is patterns.

Nice story, and certainly relevant to math and music, as a correlation.

I also agree that how things are taught (and by whom) can make a big difference.

In high school, I think I got a "D" in algebra. My first year in college, right out of high school, and I got an "F" in college algebra. Fast-forward about 40 years, and back to college at an older age, and I got an "A" in college algebra, and trigonometry, and most every other course/subject. It is amazing what our mind-set and "attitude" (and maturity?) has on our studies, even more so than our "aptitude". Also, the teacher, and their methods, does make a huge difference.

When it comes to music, groups and patterns is certainly a big part of the equation. smile

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I was no math wizard nor a musical prodigy, but I learned what math I needed to know as a pre-school kid…. Because there were no pre-conceived ideas of ‘I’m not good at math’. I doubt I even could have told you what math is.

Adults can learn this as well, they just need to get beyond ‘I’m not good at math’ jitters.


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Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What I think is true and fairly well documented is that ability and/or interest in math, music, and chess seem to go together. But that doesn't mean that difficulty in one of those areas means one will have difficulty in another area.
I really haven't seen the link between mathematical aptitude and musical aptitude in my personal experience. Most of the piano students I've seen were not good at math, they were okay at it maybe, but nothing made me feel that they were good at it or had a natural aptitude for it. On the other hand, languages are a different matter. Pretty much all of them had very good language abilities, many could speak multiple language and pronounce foreign words, even those learned later in life. Many were interested in and are good at writing, classic literature and the like. I've seen some chess players as well and I think that is also an ability that goes along with music.

I have studied math in college. I don't think it influenced my musical ability much at all. I feel this is a myth. Musical ability seems to go hand in hand with working memory, which is also involved in mental calculations. So maybe on that particular task, musicians might be better on average.
There have been NY Times articles and, I think, even a book written about the connections between interest/ability in math, music, and chess.
Here is the link to the NY Times article that list further sources claiming a connection between the three fields:
https://gambit.blogs.nytimes.com/20...nd-chess-masters/?searchResultPosition=1

Music, math, and chess are also among the very small number of disciplines where genuine prodigies exist.

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A website discussing the link between chess and math.
https://www.permutationpuzzles.org/chess/math_chess.html

Many articles about the connection between chess, music, and math.
https://www.google.com/search?as_q=connection+between+math%2C+music%2C+chess&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&lr=&cr=&as_qdr=all&as_sitesearch=&as_occt=any&safe=images&as_filetype=&tbs=

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Math and chess is about problem-solving (how to beat those numbers = how to beat up your opponent......) but music is all about expression and the means to that end. (As Bobby Fischer famously replied when asked what's the best thing about chess: "When the other guy's ego cracks!", doing an impression of strangling his hapless opponent......)

The only thing that all three have in common is that their best proponents have single-minded mentality towards their craft, and they don't regard putting all their time and work towards them as "work"......and they most certainly don't start counting 10,000 hours. Not even 10 hours. Even Einstein, despite his prodigious memory and mathematical abilities, couldn't remember how many hours it took him to come to the conclusion that c is a constant whistle.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What I think is true and fairly well documented is that ability and/or interest in math, music, and chess seem to go together. But that doesn't mean that difficulty in one of those areas means one will have difficulty in another area.
I really haven't seen the link between mathematical aptitude and musical aptitude in my personal experience. Most of the piano students I've seen were not good at math, they were okay at it maybe, but nothing made me feel that they were good at it or had a natural aptitude for it. On the other hand, languages are a different matter. Pretty much all of them had very good language abilities, many could speak multiple language and pronounce foreign words, even those learned later in life. Many were interested in and are good at writing, classic literature and the like. I've seen some chess players as well and I think that is also an ability that goes along with music.

I have studied math in college. I don't think it influenced my musical ability much at all. I feel this is a myth. Musical ability seems to go hand in hand with working memory, which is also involved in mental calculations. So maybe on that particular task, musicians might be better on average.
There have been NY Times articles and, I think, even a book written about the connections between interest/ability in math, music, and chess.
Here is the link to the NY Times article that list further sources claiming a connection between the three fields:
https://gambit.blogs.nytimes.com/20...nd-chess-masters/?searchResultPosition=1

Music, math, and chess are also among the very small number of disciplines where genuine prodigies exist.
Those articles are kind of BS pop science to be honest. At least among the professional musicians I have seen, very few (basically none I have seen so far) seem to be good at mathematics. Maybe they take up other professions...

In general, I don't find the kind of analytical, almost clinical deductive reasoning mathematical mindset among musicians often. Chess players, maybe.

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I think it is hard to link abilities anecdotally.

That said, I and four of my colleagues have spent their long careers as professional organists and commercial pilots. One could say it makes sense - both require simultaneous use of your hands and feet, but I hardly think that five people out of thousands makes for solid evidence of commonality.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
Those articles are kind of BS pop science to be honest. At least among the professional musicians I have seen, very few (basically none I have seen so far) seem to be good at mathematics. Maybe they take up other professions...

In general, I don't find the kind of analytical, almost clinical deductive reasoning mathematical mindset among musicians often. Chess players, maybe.
Just your opinion, but if you look at the Google link I posted you will see dozens of articles about this topic.

I also didn't say the person had to be "good" at all three or even just two of them. I purposely included "interested in" also.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ranjit
Those articles are kind of BS pop science to be honest. At least among the professional musicians I have seen, very few (basically none I have seen so far) seem to be good at mathematics. Maybe they take up other professions...

In general, I don't find the kind of analytical, almost clinical deductive reasoning mathematical mindset among musicians often. Chess players, maybe.
Just your opinion, but if you look at the Google link I posted you will see dozens of articles mostly claiming there is a link.

I also didn't say the person had to be "good" at all three or even just two of them. I purposely included "interested in" also.

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