Written By: Sarah Chase
Math has always been considered as one of the hardest subjects for students. Tutordoctor.com reported a survey that stated 37 percent of teens from 13 to 17 find math to be the most difficult subject. That is the highest ranked overall. Parents often hire tutors and students sometimes stay before or after school to receive extra help in the subject, but there are many people making ways to make math easier to learn.
Swetha Tandri started Melodies For Math, an educational organization that creates original songs to explain all things math. Tandri herself struggled with math her first half of school because her teachers and fellow classmates only wanted to deal with the what in the subject and not the why.
“Math is essential in life and so the why is important! With my platform, I intend to make math more engaging so that more people would become invested in it and feel ready to tackle stem based careers,” Tandri said.
Getting students engaged into the challenging subject is most likely the hardest part of learning and comprehending everything. There are so many steps, rules, and directions to follow to get the correct answer. Not only is that, but students are forced to learn different types of math. There is geometry, algebra II, trigonometry and much more. That is why Tandri makes music that students will have a hard time forgetting.
“I plan to engage students through creating melodies and hooks that will stay in peoples’ heads! That way,” Tandri said, “they will keep revisiting the songs and that way will remember them! Soon, we will start an initiative explaining WHY math is important for practical use.”
Tandri has adored music for as long as she could remember. It is no surprise to her as to how she came up with the idea to put melodies to math and she has never been the shy performer. She has been around, sung and performed music since before she could speak. Tandri also holds perfect pitch, which only exists in one out of every 10,000 people.
“Music has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember,” Tandri said. “It is in my DNA. I can recognize different tonal frequencies without an instrument. I even sang before talking, to the surprise of my parents. I have been involved in carnatic music since I was 4 and sang in the choir from 6th grade, being recognized at the state level!”
Developing a song is tricky especially for a subject that is challenging within itself and it is important to Tandri to make her music easy to learn and understand. Tandri has a method to making sure that her music is informative and coherent, not muddled.
“The most important thing to do when creating a song is to not make it too complicated,” Tandri said. “When appealing to our target audiences, I need to make sure that the students understand the particular concept in a short amount of time. So instead of covering the most information I can, I choose one or two topics and go in depth. In addition, the song needs to be catchy. I develop the earworm(hook) first and fill it with the main idea, and then I structure my verses around it.”
Melodies for Math wants to expand their organization once more team members get involved for their content and music department. After that is accomplished they have many plans to get involved in other types of maths.
“We will branch from the calculus theme and target concepts in high school, middle school, and maybe even elementary school math. We will then pitch our site and resources through our ambassador program through the United States and cities around the world,” Tandri said.
Melodies for Math for is known to help students learn in not only a fun way, but also a very effective way. Most math classes could not provide what Tandri’s organization does because of the way music is used. They do have tutoring sessions, but also videos to learn from.
“Firstly, we are the only service to explain math through music for a predominantly high school demographic! Our videos range from 1-3 minutes, which are much shorter than many other tutoring sessions/videos, but we intend to craft our hooks so that students will keep coming back. In addition, we aim to provide services/projects that explain why the WHY matters when solving a problem as well as show the intrinsic connection between math and the humanities. More projects will be coming soon,” Tandri said.
To those struggling in math, Tandri wants to make it clear that you are not alone and can accomplish the challenging subject. The important lesson for her to teach is to not give up on yourself.
“My advice to anyone struggling is to approach math with an open mind,” Tandri said. “I understand that some concepts might not make sense, or that you might feel like certain steps are not important. But everything has a purpose; it’s just a matter of how well that purpose is taught. Don’t give up!”