Trouble with math? New school course uses piano to help students - CBS46 News

Trouble with math? New school course uses piano music to help students

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An Atlanta musician believes he's found a way to help teenagers overcome trouble with math and algebra.

Marcus Blackwell, a classically-trained jazz and gospel pianist, teaches middle school and high school students math by way of teaching them new songs on the piano, even if they've never played a note in their lives.

"I take everything musical, and give it a math definition," said Blackwell. "You can do things like add and subtract, use fractions, all the way up to algebra."

Blackwell uses simple tunes that teens know from the radio, basing lesson plans around the songs, assigning numbers to each note and chord change. Though most students in his classes aren't musicians and don't know piano, the class is typically able to complete one song by the end of each period.

"It tells the kid, I need to count these movements (in the notes) to get to the next musical note to find my answer. And when you have all your answers and play them together, it plays the featured song," said Blackwell.

Blackwell started with five schools last fall and now works with 15.

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