Musical activity as a way of enhancing mathematical reasoning

Michelle Flint
Michelle Flint

Michelle Flint (2011). Directed study on the topic of “Musical activity as a way of enhancing mathematical reasoning” as part of a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Music Education) at the University of Waikato.


This study aimed to find out what kinds of musical activities can broaden the horizons of student thinking and support mathematical reasoning.

The intervention considered how the natural patterning of music might assist and ‘nurture’ Gardener’s intelligences that Goodkin refers to. How can educators awaken logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, kinaesthetic and interpersonal intelligences through music making? Specifically,  this pilot study aimed to find out how, through music-making, educators can teach students mathematics using music as a vehicle. It explored how counting and clapping games, the use of rhymes, songs and musical instruments might be used to support and strengthen the understanding of number for low-achievers.


Michelle Flint’s lifelong love of music began with her playing the cornet at the age of seven and then moving on to trumpet, piano and electronic organ. With a particular interest in brass and woodwind, she became in 2004 Musical Director of the Cambridge Brass Band, taking them from an un-graded band to D grade Champions and gaining promotion to C Grade. Michelle is currently Head of Music at St Paul’s Collegiate School, and can take credit for the growing strength of its orchestra. Her previous roles have included Head of Music at Cambridge Middle School (2005-2007) and director at the Hamilton Community Centre of Music (2007-2008). She was an Arts Waikato Scholarship Recipient in 2009 and has just graduated (2014) with a PGDipEd (Music Education) from Waikato University.

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