July Theme: Math in Music

12 Months of Math

Music and math exist in harmony with one another. The rhythm of the music, the tones of the melody, and even the way an instrument produces the sound, can all be expressed using mathematical concepts. Math acts as a type of language to explain music and help us appreciate its complexity and beauty.

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Thank you to this month’s sponsor:

iHeart Media

Parents' Corner

Math Talk

Topic:  Remember by song

Do you find it curious that you can memorize songs quicker than you can remember what you were told to buy at the grocery store? Why is this? Why are songs so much easier to remember?

Adam Sinicki writes about a few different reasons in Why do we remember songs so well?

Repetition:  We tend to want to hear a song over and over, learn more of the lyrics each new time it plays.

Connections:  The brain operates in pathways or electrical circuitry. A song is a multi-circuited creature. Aside from them lyrics, the brain records the tune, artist, and where you are while listening. You also will associate the new song to other songs you already know and enjoy. These many pathways allow memory access to increase.

Rhythm and Rhyme:  When hearing a new song, a listener will often begin to snap, clap, nod, or bounce to the beat if they like the way it sounds. The beat is the rhythm of the song. Often, song lyrics are written in rhyme. Rhyming words are typically easier to remember than non-rhyming words.

Emotion:  You may notice you are quicker to remember songs you enjoy, or to which you have a positive emotional reaction. When we experience an emotional reaction to something we hear, see, touch, taste, or smell, our brain instantly identify it as being more important.

Events and Activities

Math in Music Events

Sunday, June 21, 2-4pm

This month’s activity is Math in Music: Music and math exist in harmony with one another. Music is a fun and interactive way for children of all ages to experience math. Play with rhythms, beats, and melody while learning how math is the language behind music.

Math in Music Activities

The Radio Chain Field Trip

Friday, July 13, 2018, 7:30–10:30am

This event is Full.

In July, 12 Months of Math celebrates Sound Engineering. Along with our sponsor, iHeart Media, 12 Months of Math will take up to 30 Explora members for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at broadcast media with the JTD in the Morning team and the Chief Engineer from the 100.3 the PEAK.

The journey will begin at 7:30 am during #JTDFreeSummerFun at the New Mexico Natural History Museum (1801 Mountain Rd NW, Abq NM 87104) during the live radio show. The group will meet the station’s Chief Engineer to learn about the live, remote radio production.

At 8:15am the field trip group will board a bus to the iHeart Radio station, to reveal the back-end of producing the live show, along with a behind-the-scenes tour exploring math in sound engineering, and careers in broadcast.

The bus will return to Explora at approximately 10:30am.

Field trip participants must be 18 years or older, or accompanied by an adult guardian.

Register by Monday, July 9, 5pm.

Seats are limited* to 30 members. If you would like to participate call Trisha 505-224-8363 to reserve your spot.

*If you decide to cancel after registration, please do so by July 11, so we have a chance to contact member from the wait list.

Career Connections

Math is a foundation of all music. Counting, rhythm, scales, intervals, patterns, symbols, harmonies, time signatures, overtones, tone, pitch. Individuals seeking a career path in music need a wide variety of math knowledge and understanding depending on their role. Here are a few common careers in music:


As the lead project manager behind a creative endeavor such as recording an album, or developing a live radio show, a producer’s duties are wide in scope. Math skills are utilized when budgets need to be met, or the schedule needs to be determined and met. Producers also need to be sure that the project is finished by its deadline, and work with directors on tasks like editing. Producers typically possess a bachelor’s degree, and come from a background in the creative arts.

Sound Engineering Technician

Sound engineering technicians use math and complex engineering equipment to layer pieces of music, effects, or even voices, creating a proper mix on a recording. With enough skill, they can work their way up to a supervisory position, such as a chief engineer or broadcast field supervisor. Job requirements tend to vary; sometimes, a high school education is sufficient, while others might need some college courses or an associate’s degree.

Application Software Developer

Software developers are those who create programs from scratch. If, for example, they are developing a program or app used by musicians, a complex series of code involving mathematical equations will ensure that music is used properly within the application. Furthermore, some developers create flow charts that are used by their programming staff to write the code used for the program. Software developers must have excellent programming skills and a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

Electronics Engineer

Those in electronics engineering design the components that go into various electronic devices, which may include portable music players or tuners for different instruments. Electronics engineers need a very strong mathematical background in calculus, trigonometry, and algebra to become successful in their field. Electronics engineers are required to have a bachelor’s degree, and participating in a cooperative program or internship will help those looking for a career in this field.


Choreographers pick the music that is used for a dance sequence, and also need to use mathematical abilities to string together and synchronize movements to the rhythm of a song. They may be responsible for budget monitoring throughout a production. Choreographers have no specific requirements in formal education, but bachelor’s and advanced degree levels are available for those who wish to study choreography.

View Careers at iHeart

Are you interested in a career in the music industry? Check out Careers in Music.

Career Spotlight

 Learn how these professionals use math in their careers:

tim gannon

Tim Gannon, iHeart Media
Account Executive

ryan safford

Ryan Safford, iHeart Media
On-Air Personality

Thanks to our Title Sponsors:

Color Explora Logo iHeart Media intel NSF logo

12 Months of Math, a project of STEM-NM, is a city-wide initiative designed to explore and celebrate math’s importance to our community and in our lives. 12 Months of Math will provide community-based, culturally-relevant, multilingual family math programs for the public. Each month of math will focus on a selected theme and will provide math activities in a real-world context, supported by local business and organizations whose work relates to the month’s theme. 12 Months of Math brings together the varied expertise of partner organizations and coordinates efforts to bring about significant improvement in children’s math outcomes.

STEM-NM is New Mexico’s nationally-designated STEM Learning Ecosystem, working to increase the prosperity of our community by engaging students and preparing them for jobs in our local science, technology, and health care sectors.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1744541. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

12 Months of Math is looking for math events and opportunities to engage New Mexico families. If you would like to share math information with us please fill in this contact form.

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