From S.F. Gate by Jill Tucker:
Third-grade students at a San Bruno elementary school who learned fractions through music scored significantly higher on standardized tests than their peers, said San Francisco State researchers experimenting with ways to teach math more effectively.

Math scores significantly improved after one year of a math-focused music program, which included lessons in drumming, clapping and playing the recorder to help students understand how music is broken down into equivalent fractions.

The specific curriculum, which researchers called academic music, was used to teach students at Allen Elementary to count beats in 4/4 time, breaking down whole notes to eighth notes.

Studies have repeatedly shown that fractions are often one of the more frustrating mathematical concepts to learn - and one of the most important - but the students picked up on things pretty quickly, said San Francisco State researcher Sue Courey.

Fractions - with all their shifty numerators and denominators - become something fun, Courey said. "The kids don't think they're really doing math," she said.

The study, initiated in 2007 and the results released last week, showed test scores soared after the first year of the twice-a-week, 30-minute class with music teacher Endre Balogh, whose nonprofit Toones Academic Music promotes the curriculum.

"It was phenomenal," said Principal Kit Cosgriff.

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