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Summer Program Links Music and Math

FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2018 - 7:00 AM All News , Arts and Sciences

The University will offer a unique summer enrichment program for high school students this summer, exploring the linkage between Music and Math.

Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors are invited to take part in two-week experience August 6 – 17. The program will explore how various musical concepts can be explained through math. Students will listen to and play various instruments, compose music with mathematics and technology, and make a working musical instrument to perform with.  

“The Math-Music connection is a nice way to show that seemingly disparate subjects are more aptly thought of as inseparable,” says James Morgan, lead instructor and director of the Western New England University Math Center. “Students will be exposed to the thought processes and mathematical reasoning that go into computer programming, instrument design, and analysis of the structure of a musical composition.”

“When we study mathematics in particular, we are touching on a very special part of our minds that I like to think is a crossroads between logic and creativity,” Morgan says. “How great mathematicians solve problems is oftentimes a process that utilizes extreme creativity, and how great musicians reach excellence oftentimes requires a great deal of precise quantitative and logical reasoning.” 

Morgan has been teaching college-level mathematics for 18 years. He studied philosophy and bassoon performance through the California State University system and has logged more than 500 orchestral and chamber music performances since the early 1980's.

“My life experiences with both math and music for the past 35 years have brought me to this point where I feel now like I am able to share these connections. I see this opportunity as a way to bring more people into the fold of mathematics in a way that is not in a traditional setting (which many find unappealing), and therefore could be a very captivating way to open up the minds of students to math and all its possibilities.”

Music and Math is part of Western New England University’s Mission: Ignition summer programs, which provide high school students with unique opportunities designed to spark their passion and creativity. Programs run each weekday August 6 to August 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the University’s Sixteen Acres campus. For more information and to register, visit www.wne.edu/mission-ignition.