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This “Math through Music” lesson encourages mental math and quantity analysis while educating students musically


Math, Music  


K, 1, 2, 3, 4  

Title – Introducing Math through Music
By – Sheena Carty
Primary Subject – Math
Secondary Subjects – Music
Grade Level – K-4


  • Small drum or tambourine representing the number 1.
  • An agogo bell representing the number 2.
  • A triangle represents 3.
  • A wood block represents 4.


  • Begin by telling the children the names of the instruments and letting them hear the different sounds.
  • Then ask the children what number they think the drum represents; they will instinctively tell you number one and then realize the other instruments’ numbers without any help.
  • Choose a child and tell them to listen to two sounds, i.e. the drum (1) and the triangle (3).
  • Ask them to hit the instrument that is the sum of both numbers. They should hit the woodblock (4).
  • After a short amount of practice, this can be done without speaking or involving numbers, so that when you hit two instruments, the children can hit the answer.
  • For nursery school children:
    • Simply hit the drum and ask them to hit the instrument that matches the amount of times you strike it.
    • If you hit the drum three times, the child will work out that three is the triangle.
  • For older children:
    • Use this idea for multiplication tables, subtraction, etc.
    • The four instruments add to ten.
    • If you hit the triangle times the woodblock – the answer is 12.
    • The child then has many options of instruments to answer with, i.e. the woodblock three times, the drum twelve times, the triangle four times and so on.


  • This method takes away the need for numbers and encourages mental math, quantity analysis, different variations and sequences of numbers and also encourages and educates students musically.

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