Activity Introduction

maths2-heroQuick summary: This lesson is designed for a flipped classroom, where students learn new content by watching a video in their own time. This strategy provides the opportunity for students to build their knowledge, attitudes and values by themselves, thereby freeing up class time for hands-on work. Students will explore the relationship between maths and music, and reflect on their own processes for imagining and creating music.

Fanfare logoThis lesson is part of the Fanfare Competition unit. The unit is designed for students to build their aural and technical skills while exploring music as an art form through listening, composing and performing. Students are encouraged to apply their learning by planning and organising a composition for the Fanfare Competition.

The competition encourages young people aged 12‐21 years to write a new work to be recorded by the Australian Youth Orchestra and played in venues across Australia to replace the ‘cue bells’ for audiences to take their seats. It is a wonderful way to showcase young artists and musicians, and encourage creativity in young people.

Learning intentions:

  • Students explore the relationship between music and maths.
  • Students recognise some of their own strategies for creating music.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 7 & 8 Music

  • Analyse composers’ use of the elements of music and stylistic features when listening to and interpreting music (ACAMUR097)

Year 9 & 10 Music

  • Evaluate a range of music and compositions to inform and refine their own compositions and performances (ACAMUR104)

Syllabus Outcomes: MUS5.7, MUS5.8, MUS5.9, MUS5.10, MUS4.7, MUS4.8, MUS4.10

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Intercultural understanding.

Relevant parts of Year 7 and 8 achievement standards: Students identify and analyse how the elements of music are used in different styles and apply this knowledge in their performances and compositions.
Students manipulate the elements of music and stylistic conventions to compose music.

Relevant parts of Year 9 and 10 achievement standards: Students analyse different scores and performances aurally and visually. They evaluate the use of elements of music and defining characteristics from different musical styles. They interpret and perform music with technical control, expression and stylistic understanding. 

Topic: Fanfare Competition. 

Unit of work: Artology Fanfare Competition.

Time needed: 30 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – allow students to explore the topic independently.

Resources required: Internet, laptops and earphones, Student Worksheet. Optional: Fanfare Competition DIY Student Toolkit.

Key words: maths, music, Beethoven, creativity.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

maths1-heroTeacher Preparation

Learning intentions:

  • Students explore the relationship between music and maths.
  • Students recognise some of their own strategies for creating music.

Success criteria:

  • Students can identify when they use maths in music.


The Flipped Lesson

This lesson provides the opportunity for students to explore/build their current knowledge, attitudes and values about the relationship between maths and music. Students will also begin to recognise the maths in the music that they create, and will reflect on some of the other strategies for creating and making music. While working independently, students are to view the following video and complete the questions on the Student Worksheet.

This visual thinking tool can be useful in examining how and why student thinking has changed based on learning specific content. It also helps to develop their reasoning abilities and to recognise cause and effect relationships.

Step 1. Before students watch the clip below, a

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Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: Do you use maths when making music?

Before watching this video, describe what you think is the relationship between maths and music:

  • Is there a relationship?
  • What type of relationship is it?
  • Do you use any maths when composing?

Write your ideas here: 

Once complete, watch the following clip and answer the questions below:

Music and math. The genius of Beethoven. (

In 50 words or less, describe what you saw in this video:

What do you think about the relationship between maths and music as described in this video?

What questions does this video leave you with?

The philosopher Leibniz described listening to music as “The mind counting without being conscious that it is counting.” Describe why you agree or disagree with this statement:

Do you think mathematicians and musicians are alike? How do you think they differ?

What did James Sylvester mean wh

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