About the CD

Recommended use:

  • Listen to this CD once a day (or more if you are keen!) Car journeys are especially good for this.
  • Follow the book of tables to begin with, but after five days, try not to look at it. After ten days you will be amazed to find that you know your tables!

Note for parents: To begin with make sure your child only learns the tables relevant to their age group.

Running time: 50 minutes

"Just writing to let you know how FANTASTIC your CD is. My kids are singing along and really have learnt from it." ~ Ed Parry, Parent of Lauren and Rachel, Kent.

The Research behind
"Learn Your Times Tables"

The reason I decided to set the multiplication tables to music was for my son. Like most children, he did not wish to be bothered by having to practice, ad nauseum, his times tables after a long day at school. As a stressed out self employed mum of two, I didn't want to be spending my time motivating (and shouting at) him to study his multiplication tables.

So how to solve this problem, and find the best way to teach him his times tables?

Music!
Kids love music...
Music is an excellent resource for memory

When researching how best to write fun music for learning multiplication tables, I began by watching loads of cartoons. Kids love cartoons. And I noticed how my own children, and their friends, particularly enjoyed funny voices and could memorise the script and music after only one viewing. The more engaged they were by the character, the more they remembered the dialogue. I took the tip and decided to use strong characters, with some terrible jokes thrown in, to help the children memorise each multiplication song.

I called on my musical resources and began by writing a few of the times tables for Key Stage One (six to seven year olds) and then trying them out on children I knew. They liked them, and so I continued. I made each number have a unique song to make learning them easy. I then tested them in a real maths class of Key Stage One kids. The children enjoyed acting out all the different characters as they ran through the multiplication tables. They were having fun and learning their tables!

Parents, who knew nothing about my CD, started mentioning that their kids were singing their times tables over breakfast.

Spurred on by this enthusiasm I finished writing the rest of the times table songs and then we tested it out on a Key Stage Two maths class (eight to nine year olds). It was evident that a couple of the times tables were too fast, so I slowed them down. I returned with a new CD of music and to my delight out of all the numbers, everyone's favourite was the seven times table, which is reported to be the hardest to learn.

My son learnt his tables in about a week whilst motoring around France. He sat diligently with a printed sheet of multiplication tables on the back seat and sung them all, putting on silly voices and generally having a laugh. A few days later, we were out walking and suggested he try reciting them to us without the CD. He sang the whole lot, fluently and in a silly voice.

He was amazed that his daily practice of the times tables had paid off! He is now nine and very confident about multiplication.

But is it that surprising that this CD provides an easy way to learn the multiplication tables?

It is a well established fact that tips to aid memory come in the form of mnemonics, rhymes and songs. And as we all know, these methods are most effective if the subject is engaged by the music. When this happens, research has shown that music enhances memory, due to the amount of adrenalin which is released into the brain. However, if the music is deemed confusing or unpleasant, then the reverse can be true.

A study was done in 1998 at The Institute Of Education in London, to find out what effects, if any, music had on stimulating the brain and increasing memory resources. Three groups of school children were asked to perform memory tests. One group were played 'soothing classical music', the second 'aggressive modern jazz' and the third had silence.

The first group had significantly better results than the other two groups. The group who fared worst were played 'aggressive modern jazz'. Dr Hallam, who led the research group said "the differences were significant. The 'classical' group were better able to remember sentences that had been read to them than both the other groups, while the 'modern jazz' group had the worst results."

However, their improved memory and behaviour was not necessarily triggered by classical music per se. "It is really whether the music is perceived as arousing. We think that the music has an effect on the primitive mechanisms of the brain, and directly affects mood" said Dr Hallam.

.......

I know that the music on this CD is arousing and that children respond brilliantly to it. I worked hard to achieve that. I believe that teaching multiplication facts through music in a fun atmosphere is the best way to teach the times tables to children so that they will hold this vital resource in their memory forever.

But remember, they must practice them every day, because as we all know, practice makes perfect!

Julia Kitching
July 2007