Maths and Music go Hand in Hand

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Maths and Music go Hand in Hand

Benjamin Chia playing the Fazioli Piano in All Saints’ new Centre for Performing Arts

Benjamin Chia playing the Fazioli Piano in All Saints’ new Centre for Performing Arts


There’s quite a body of research that indicates a close link between musical activity and improved physical and mental functioning, and All Saints’ College student, Benjamin Chia, is living proof of the research.

A talented musician, Ben was also recently recognised as WA’s top Year 11 Mathematics student by the Mathematical Association of Western Australia (MAWA), and was awarded the prestigious Larry Blakers’ Scholarship to attend the MAWA National Mathematics Summer School (NMSS) in Canberra in January, 2014.

(The NMSS is a program for the discovery and development of mathematically gifted and talented students from all over Australia. It is a two-week residential summer course held at the Australian National University in Canberra.)

In addition to his mathematical talent, and having played the piano since he was seven years old, Benjamin obtained his Dip ABRSM at the age of 13 and then went on to obtain the LRSM with Distinction at the age of 14. Benjamin also completed his AMEB Grade 6 Musicianship exam in 2011.

Most notably in 2010, Benjamin won the Passion of Music International Music competition organised by the American Association and was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in New York.

“Research indicates that music targets a specific area of the brain which stimulates the use of spatial-temporal reasoning, and this reasoning is important in mathematical thinking,” said Director of Music, Anette Kerkovius.

Researchers at the University of St Andrews, led by Psychologist Dr Ines Jentzsch, said their findings published in the journal, Neuropsychologia, showed musicians were quicker to pick up mistakes and correct them.

Playing music increases memory and reasoning capacity, time management skills and eloquence. It also helps with concentration, self-expression and improves verbal memory. They also responded faster than those with little or no musical training, with no loss in accuracy.

“…higher levels of musical training might result in more efficient information processing in general […] and confirms earlier reports indicating a positive link between mental speed and musical ability,” Dr Ines Jentzsch said.

“In addition to Benjamin’s many talents, he is also a great contributor to our College community, and was recently elected All Saints’ Academic Captain for 2014,” commented Anette Kerkovius.