Proposed research project, pending IRB approval.

This study will examine the efficacy of potential ways to reduce the math anxiety in collegiate music students when attempting to learn topics in higher mathematics.

… the process of music composition and its production have become intertwined with the scientific and technical resources of society to a greater extent than every before

John Chowning, The Computer Music Tutorial

As we move further and further into the digital age, many areas of music (along with the rest of the liberal arts and humanities) increasingly demand higher and higher levels of scientific and mathematical competency. Despite this, studies have shown that mathematics self-efficacy among students majoring in the arts and humanities remains low. In fact, the introduction of calculus-related topics within their curricula has been associated with negative educational outcomes and increased disinterest in the study of mathematics.

Despite this, students in music programs are increasingly becoming interested in the possibilities presented by the incorporation of technology into the arts. To develop fluency with the technologies that are used to augment artistic practice, the student is confronted with a need to develop computational and mathematical thinking. This need can conflict with low mathematics self-efficacy, leading to diminished long-term outcomes for the student’s attainment and interest.

Thus, there is a need to find and develop “best practices” for balancing the presentation of advanced mathematical concepts with the maintenance of student self-efficacy and the management of student mathematics anxiety.