Conference at Ithaca College to Show How Music Can be Used to Teach Math

ITHACA, NY — “Math and Arts Conference” — a two-day conference to be held Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24, at Ithaca College — will show teachers how to use music to inspire students K through 12 to develop skills in mathematics. The cost for attending the workshops is $100. Virtual interactive sessions are available for $50. Interested participants may register online at The deadline is June 22. Two continuing education credits are offered.

“This conference is an excellent opportunity to help teachers reach young people through the creative medium of music and help them develop self confidence in math,” said Dani Novak, associate professor of mathematics at Ithaca College and a conference presenter. “Our goal is to empower teachers to teach in a way that will motivate their students and allow them to shine.”

“Mathematics is a language of reason, pattern and logic, and human beings are born with the ability to do math similar to the way they speak or write language,” said Novak. “The question is, how can a teacher tap into that natural fountain and inspire their students’ natural ability of expression.”

The conference, said Novak, will explore this question in various ways, including workshop presentations such as “Music and Math” as well as GeoGebra, Simulations, and other software programs.

Offering e-learning technologies and hands-on activities, the conference will include workshop sessions on how mathematics concepts can be reflected in beginning piano methods, ways to integrate technology into mathematics instruction, and an innovative way of writing music with numbers. A complete list of offerings is available at

The presentations will be held in Williams Hall on the Ithaca College campus. The interactive virtual classroom can be accessed online.

The expert presenters at the conference are:

Dani Novak, Ph.D., associate mathematics professor at Ithaca College, who, with David Rosenthal, codesigned a computer language that connects mathematics and visual arts. Novak also directs the Ithaca GeoGebra Institute.

Steve Phelps, geometry teacher at Cincinnati’s Madeira High School, is the cofounder and codirector of the GeoGebra Institute of Ohio. He involves his students with creative GeoGebra projects that are shared with many people around the world.

Nellie Deutsch, Ph.D., is the founder of Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning (IT4ALL), a nonprofit organization that provides educators worldwide with free professional development workshops on how to improve instruction and learning by integrating technology into their classes.

Peter Elyakim Taussig, a composer, educator, and concert pianist whose performing career was ended by an injury. He now focuses on developing technological approaches to teaching and recording music and has developed new recording techniques for handicapped pianists.
Cristina Heffernan has worked as a math coach consultant at Worcester East Middle School and Sullivan Middle School in Massachusetts. She has performed “Master Teacher” demonstration lessons for teachers and has mentored them in their classrooms as they taught for the first time with the newly adopted CMP curriculum.

Maria Droujkova is a mathematics education researcher interested in early algebra, multiplicative reasoning and communities of practice. Since the early 1990s, she has been teaching workshops and classes, consulting for universities and businesses, and presenting her research at national and international conferences.

Roman Malino Dunn is owner of the Music Transcriber, a firm providing music solutions, specializing in sheet music preparation and music software development. As a music theorist, he has presented papers on mathematical counterpoint to the 2007 Conference of the Society for Mathematics and Computation in Music in Berlin. At the Math and Arts Conference, his presentation will feature the work of Jason MacCoy, creator of Numbered Notes, a music notation system that emphasizes adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, ratios, base numbers and other math concepts found in music.

Ludmila Smirnova, Ph.D., is a professor of education at Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, New York. For the past 10 years she has taught courses in curricular planning, methods of teaching and teaching with technology. She leads numerous workshops on the application of Smart Technologies and Web 2.0 tools in college, primary and secondary classrooms.

For more information, visit or contact Dani Novak, at

The symmetry of the chromatic scale in music and the progression of prime numbers is represented in this shape.