Did you know that music and math have a direct correlation? Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras said, “there is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.” Remember the Pythagorean Theorem? The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides? Yep, same guy. Look up Pythagorean Tuning.
Pythagoras was referring to the fact that music is entirely interconnected with mathematics. Mike Phillips, Chairman of the Mt. Carmel Alumni and Endowment Foundation, has been a musician for most of his life. Superior Court Judge Michael Bordallo, Phillips’ first cousin and former law partner, is not. Mike Phillips who plays guitar and writes music is primarily a drummer and a self-taught sound technician, arguably one of Guam’s best.
One day, Phillips receives a call from his not-so-musical cousin Mike Bordallo who says loudly, “why didn’t you tell me music was just math?” Bordallo is a math genius according to Phillips, who laughed at his honor’s revelation. Now, the judge not only plays guitar and the ukulele like a champ, he’s actually part of a professional band with gigs all around the island.
What Bordallo discovered and Pythagoras spoke about is that musical chords and compositions are much like math formulas in that they include precise patterns. The relationship is simple. Its explanation is complicated. Some sound engineers and music producers use ratios, fractions and math formulas to create complex harmonies. Now, Mike Phillips calls his cousin to suggest chords based on Bordallo’s mathematical prowess.
Recently, studies from Kent State University have shown that musically-trained children display enhanced problem solving and better social skills as well as improved cognitive skills, including memory, speech and comprehension.
An article written by Julia Savacool for the website scholastic.com states that children involved in the performing arts including singers, dancers, theater actors and musicians, become quicker thinkers, are better at mastering their anxiety and develop stronger self-esteem.
Mt. Carmel Catholic School is certainly more than a music school, as evident in the multiple gold medals our students have won in island-wide science fairs and Chamorro language competitions; or in the number of successful alumni who have become some of the highest-ranking students including Valedictorians and Salutatorians in high school; or in the alumni that have become some of Guam’s most successful entrepreneurs, attorneys, educators, government leaders and yes, musicians. Have you seen the Phoenix Stage Band?
Mt. Carmel prides itself in educating the complete child. I feel good knowing that as my son, a 6th grade MCS student, learns to play the guitar from virtuoso guitarist and MCS Music Director Dave Duenas or the drums from percussion extraordinaire Ching Batamana, he will also be excelling at math…and life!
— An MCS Parent
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