Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!

Thank you to Abner Genece for reading us this fun story. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! is a delightful story about the instruments of the orchestra that includes some simple musical math.

Watch and Listen

Musical Math for Toddlers through Elementary

Toddlers through Preschool

Basic counting is an important part of music. Use this simple, visual counting chart to help your little one explore the numbers 1 through 4 through a musical lens.

There are many ways to use this chart with your little one(s):

  1. Simply count the circles on each line.
  2. Find small items like pom poms, cheerios, or grapes and ask your child to place one item on each circle. The can count along as they do so.
  3. Ask them simple questions like: “Which line has two circles/pom poms/cheerios/etc.?” or “Which line has the fewest number of circles/pom poms/etc.?”
  4. Introduce basic math concepts like addition and subtraction. For example: “This line has four cheerios. You should eat one! How many cheerios are there now?”

Preschool and Elementary

Make your own music graphs and charts. While preschool and early elementary children can stick with simple tally charts, older children can gather data and turn them into bar graphs or pie charts.

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose what information you’d like to track. Some ideas:
    • Is the music in a major key or minor key?
    • Is the music slow, fast, or medium tempo (speed)?
    • Choose a few instruments and track if a piece has those instruments.
    • How many beats per measure does the music have? Most music will have 2, 3, or 4 beats per measure.
    • Does the piece start with a loud, medium, or soft dynamic?
  2. Pick your favorite playlist! You can check out all of Inside the Orchestra’s playlists here or choose one of your own.
  3. As you listen to each piece, track your data.

Going Further

  • Before you start, make a hypothesis on which category you’re tracking will have the highest count.
  • Listen to playlists from different genres of music and see how they compare.


Use this Note Value math sheet to have your child(ren) work on their note value recognition. For young learners who don’t already know how many beats each note type has, there is a handy key at the bottom of the sheet to help you out.

Going Further:

  1. Create your own music math equations. Use the note values above or add in notes like eighth notes, sixteenth notes, or dotted quarter notes to make the equations more difficult.
  2. Color circles that contain even number note values one color and color circles that contain odd number note values another color.


Check out this mini-playlist with music that is inspired by mathematical concepts.

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