Students in Mrs. Thomas’s fourth grade math class have discovered how truly musical fractions can be. Students learned fractions and the relationship between equivalent fractions through musical notation. Students learned the values of notes and rests, discovering through music that one half note is equivalent to two quarter notes, four eighth notes, and sixteen sixteenth notes. Students even created their own compositions, applying their new understanding of musical notation and note values. As a culminating activity, Mrs. Thomas invited Gary Fry to visit her classroom and embody math’s musical components.
Gary Fry is an Emmy–winning composer, arranger, producer, conductor, and music educator, whose resume includes crafting music for recordings, films, commercials, publication, and live performance. Most recently, he is the arranger/composer for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra's The Magic of Christmas programs. His original composition, “Christmastime in Charlotte,” debuted to rave reviews last weekend in Charlotte.
Students were thrilled to have such a distinguished guest in their classroom. Fry reinforced what the students had already learned about fractions and note values. He revealed how musical tempo is a very accurate measure of time, connecting the fractions and tempo to a number line. Additionally, he explicitly demonstrated how music is matched to film and video based on math. Throughout his interaction with the class, Fry reinforced the value of math and its real-world application.
Gary Fry concluded his time with the class by teaching students the refrain from his newest song, “Christmastime in Charlotte.” After investigating the rhythms in context, the students sang the refrain with Gary Fry accompanying them on keyboard.