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I think you're wrong, and I think distaste with math is entirely due to poor teaching and/or poor/limited exposure.

If we were talking about music, would you let me get away with saying "The average student doesn't like music, in any form whatsoever"? Music is something human beings just like. We're wired to like it. Certainly there are forms of music we prefer, but I think you'd have a hard time finding someone who didn't like any music.

Math, numbers especially, can resonate in the soul in the same way that music does. It's more abstract and much less visceral, but just as beautiful, once you've really learned how to comprehend it.

I think your argument about math classes being tedious is orthogonal to whether or not math can be beautiful for everyone. Entry level music classes can be tedious, too. No one repeatedly hammering out "Frère Jacques" on the piano would say that it was beautiful, but they could hear someone playing some Chopin and easily acknowledge the beauty. Again, I maintain that this is due in large part to music being much more visceral -- you don't have to understand it to appreciate it, while in math you often do.




I upvoted both of you because you each raised some interesting points. The thing that piqued my interest was the analogy of "feeling" math like you "feel" music.

Early in high school (late 1980's mind you), I decided to take up percussion to play in our award-winning marching band. I started out on cymbals, but that was too simple. Then, I worked on the rudiments of percussion/snare drum. I had to work hard on the "math" of the musical notation, but I soon realized that I had a feel, an "ear" for complex percussion rhythms. And it jived with my already attuned ability in singing. There was something natural that "just clicked."

I see this same pattern in African spiritual music performed by people with no formal education. There's a natural mathematically knowledge they possess without any formal math education.

To me, music is just a higher abstraction of math. One that people with no math education can appreciate without even knowing why.

It's only when educated in math, that the "resonation of the soul" takes place. And I'll superficially agree with the reasons of the other commenters about why the education is lacking.

My point is that we don't have to teach them to feel anything about math. Some people will grok it at a deeper level than others and come to that realization on their own. But I think the overall analogy to music is pretty good. Mozart grokked music theory better than anyone alive today, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate his genius (given no formal training). And I couldn't integrate an equation today (15 years out of college), but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate math in my life.


> If we were talking about music, would you let me get away with saying "The average student doesn't like music, in any form whatsoever"?

This is kind of a ridiculous comparison. As you said, "Music is something human beings just like. We're wired to like it." On the other hand, we are not wired to like math. We don't go to math concerts. We don't listen to math when we drive. We don't typically do math in the shower.

And sure, some people feel that math "can resonate in the soul", but most do not. We certainly don't teach people to feel that way about music. On what basis do you claim we can teach them to feel that way about math?




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