What Was Your Favorite Class In School? Music and Mathematics Are Related.

John Philip Sousa, The March King (public domain)
John Philip Sousa, The March King (public domain)

Polar Graphs

My favorite class or subject in school changed somewhat from early childhood through college, but I found that the different subjects were really quite well-related.

I also learned that language is inseparable from personality and one's culture and that music and art inter-mesh with all of this in human development. My first interest was in art and patterns and this has apparently never changed, even though my interests grew through arts and music, onward through mathematics and sciences. It is all art and music to me. I can look at a graph or the inside of a spiraling seashell and literally hear music.

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Learning about our new world begins the moment we are born and it is important for parents, siblings and extended families to encourage this learning in every way.

Extensive research has shown that talking to the baby in earliest childhood onward, as well as movement, music, and art all prepare the brain and the Central Nervous System to learn at its best. Deaf children can still be prepared through movement. In fact, the leading percussionist in the world, Dame Evelyn Glennie, is deaf, and she plays beautiful xylophone music (see links below).

A baby is not "finished" when he or she is born. Just as the body grows, the brain and entire Central Nervous System continue to grow and expand, to develop new ner cells called "neurons." It never stops - white matter grows at a quick rate in middle and old age. The brain and nervous systems apparently never stop healing after injury as well; we simply cannot live long enough in some cases for healing to be completed. Music and art can help in this healing, making them even more important.

EARLY CHILDHOOD

My earliest favorites in the classroom and at home were reading, art and music. This helped me to be able to recognize patterns, parallels and analogies in all subjects. it was this art and music that helped me to learn logic later on.

MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL

During these years, I continued to enjoy art, but increased my interest to match my abilities in science and mathematics. The most fun I had in math classes was constructing a variety of graphs, diagrams and solid (three-dimenional) geometric figures. Later I added fractal plots. This was all artistic as well as number-related. It all worked together.

My Favorite Class: John Philip Sousa

My favorite class in high school was marching band. I had a late start in instrumental music, two years later than the other children in elementary school, but was able to advance quickly and receive the John Philip Sousa Award.

I played first chair cornet/trumpet and sometimes filled in on French horn as well. I could not handle the trombone, though --My arms were not long enough to reach the last two slide positions.

We did not have band camps, because they were too expensive, but we practiced and drilled all summer long with out ban director, who was a retired US Navy Officer.

Beginning a week after classes let out in June, we attended two hours of classes three times a week until August, at which time we began practicing four hours daily in the mornings Monday through Friday.

When school began, we continued to practice three hours a day, from 7:00 AM - 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM, Monday through Friday, throughout football season. Sometimes we went to school to begin practice at 6:00 AM. Our other classes were scheduled after marching band.

It was in band practices that I developed good physical coordination and memory. We memorized all of our musical pieces and many intricate marching drills, most of them to John Philip Sousa marches and popular music.

We marched to make flowing pictures on the football field, one image melting into the next.

Physical coordination, memory and concentration helped me to be able to do complicated mathematics problems in geometry and calculus in my head - A teacher asked me how I arrived at the correct answer for one problem and I said I did not know. We figured out that my brain had been able fulfill all the steps unconsciously and go straight to the answer. Harvard has been studying the effects of music on learning and the brain and their results are at the link:

Harvard: The Biology of Music

Evelyn Glennie - Percussionist

Evelyn Glennie is Scottish and has been named a Dame (by the UK), the equivalent of Knighthood and the title "Sir." She received this honor for her work in music, although she is deaf.

Dame Glennie became the first fulltime solo percussionist in the world. I have watched her play the drums and the xylophone barefooted so that she can feel the vibrations of her instruments, knowing in that way how they "sound."

One of my other favorite musicians is Irish -- one of the group called The Irish Tenors, Ronan Tynan. He is a physician and a double leg amputee that won many medals in the Paralymics. His link is here:

Irish Tenor Ronan Tynan

If the deaf and the injured can accomplish so much, how much more should we who can hear and run be able to achieve?

"Clapping Music" by Dame Glennie

The John Philip Sousa Marches I Memorized

Music continues to be important to me. Certain types of music can increase my concentration in other tasks. The styled of music that are most effective are Baroque, some forms of percussion, Native American Flute, and Asian Flute.

In addition, I remember many of the John Philip Sousa Marches I memorized and here is that list out of the 136 marches he wrote:

  • America First
  • El Capitan
  • Columbia's Pride
  • The Directorate
  • Esprit de Corps
  • The Federal
  • The Gladiator
  • King Cotton
  • The Legionaires
  • The Liberty Bell
  • Mother Goose
  • The Occidental
  • Old Ironsides
  • Semper Fidelis
  • Sound Off
  • The Stars and Stripes Forever
  • The Thunderer
  • Wisconsin Forward Forever
  • The Wolverine March

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Comments 6 comments

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 9 years ago from Georgia

Wow. It does seem like your favorites changed a good deal! Marching band was not a class in my high school. That's neat that it was at yours.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for the comments, Whitney08. Band has been elminated in a lot of high schools here now, unfortunately.

It seems to me that music and mathematics are the same thing. The arts were frowned upon when I was a child, as a waste of money. Math was the next best thing.


bob bobby  6 years ago

the end


Deanna992 profile image

Deanna992 4 years ago from Denver, Colorado

Wow, congratulations on receiving the John Philip Sousa Award!

Whitney05, that's unfortunate that you didn't have a marching band. My high school almost didn't have one. The year before I entered high school the old band director was replaced by an energetic young teacher just out of school who was by far the best teacher I've ever had. Even though my school hadn't had a marching band in over a decade, he reinstated one and began teaching students how to march from scratch. The school administration really didn't like the arts and worked hard to make sure it didn't happen. They did things like hiring a SECOND (and useless) football coach for a failing team instead of helping us with buying new uniforms and instruments when the old ones were falling apart. They also severely limited our time on the field during football halftime so we usually only played one movement of the show. But the students in the program pushed back and found ways around the administration's many roadblocks, which I feel like made us better as a band.


Ulfat Abbas mammar from hyderabad bk 4 years ago

My favourite class in school was 7th when I was learning English language earlily.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Good for you; English is seen as a difficult language, but interesting.

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