With all types of liberal arts, math is always involved somewhere. Whether it be as simple as adding numbers together or more complex like algebra, mathematics plays an integral part in most art forms.
Music artists count chords and intervals to create songs, while dancers learn basic geometry for shapes and concepts of balance.
Dramas require you to know about proportions and how much space something takes up when writing a script, while writers use equations during drafting to organize their ideas.
Film students must understand angles, lengths, and areas to properly construct sets, while designers have to do some basic trigonometry in order to make pictures look good.
The list goes on and on; every art form seems to involve some sort of mathematical concept. But what people don’t realize is that everything we see coming out of these professionals’ mouths has been calculated ahead of time!
They spent hours figuring out the best way to talk about their craft, and now they are paid for their knowledge with sophisticated technology. Mathematics helps them find the right word, determine cost, and implement strategies to get rid of any excess waste.
Mathematics comes down to two main components: logic and reasoning, and number theory. Logic includes things such as cause and effect, similarities, and relationships, whereas reasonings uses rules to prove statements or conclusions.
Number theory is similar to advanced math, but instead of proving theories, it studies integers and rationals (real numbers).
History of the liberal arts
The term “liberal art” was first used in the 16th century to describe humanities fields that focus more on understanding how things work, rather than studying events from past eras or learning who famous people were. These are not necessarily using tools or mathematics, but teaching us about themselves through analysis and discussion.
Some examples of liberal arts subjects include literature, poetry, sociology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and religions studies. All these areas teach you about other topics by analyzing their concepts and principles.
Literature teaches you about writing and grammar via fiction and nonfiction books. Poetry does the same with rhythm and rhyme. Sociology examines social structures, psychology looks at personality types, and anthropologists study cultures and beliefs. Philosophy explores what makes sense according to logic and theories of reasoning. And religious studies look into the roots, fundamentals, and origins of different faiths.
Degree programs in the liberal arts
Programs that offer degrees in the field of business, communication, humanities, or social sciences typically focus more on teaching you how to apply math and logic to solve problems than they do on requiring students to take courses that use these tools for solving equations.
That’s not to say there is no mathematics in those fields- there definitely is! But what about when there isn’t? What about when someone creates an equation where there isn’t one?
These types of questions are things like “How much does my roommate pay for her apartment?” or “Why is this product so expensive?” or even “What would make the world a better place?”
All three of these examples require you to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. So, using our example about roommates, if you were to add up all of your roommate’s bills and compare it to the price of the apartment she rents, then you would need to know how to calculate total amount spent per month. If you can’t, then you might want to look into whether your roomie is paying too much for her home.
Similarly, with the product cost question, you would have to know how to determine average prices as well as how to read a price list. And if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to work with numbers but none seem to match up, you’ll be prepared.
Connections between the liberal arts and job opportunities
One of the biggest reasons why people choose to go into the liberal arts is because they are helpful in preparing you for career opportunities beyond just teaching or management. For example, going into art or music majoring areas like graphic design, painting, or vocal performance can help you gain employment as a creative professional.
Liberal arts majors also show an average higher income than those who do not include math and science courses in their degree programs. Many employers look at academic degrees very seriously when hiring new employees so having one that includes lots of mathematics and sciences may limit your future career options.
On top of all this, studies have shown that individuals with more education are likely to be happier! By educating yourself outside of pure academics, you will improve your overall well-being.
Ways to boost your math skills
A lot of people think that since you’re not taking any mathematics courses, then you don’t need to do anything about your poor math skills. This couldn’t be more wrong!
There are many ways to improve your mathematical literacy- whether they’re for students or adults who want to learn more advanced maths, we have tips here for you. You can also check out our article: Best Online Courses For Learning Mathematics, to see some top recommendations.
Many universities offer free resources and apps to help hone your number sense. These include educational apps and websites with interactive content, as well as standalone software such as calculators.
Some even make it a tradition at Christmas time – this year, Apple released their own version of The Number Placeholder Image which allows you to practice basic place value identification and manipulation. (yes, really)
But beyond these tools, there are lots of strategies and exercises you can use to strengthen your number sense. Here are ten of them:
1. Repeat after me: It’s not what kind of numbers you know, but how you apply those numbers to solve problems that matter.
2. Test yourself by solving numerical questions, either under timed conditions or through online tests.
3. Use real life applications to reinforce concepts. For example, if you’ve learned fractions, look for places where you can divide things into fractions.
4. Know the basics, but don’t assume that everything is.
Calculate your interest in the arts
Another way to determine how much math you’ll be exposed to is by looking at the types of art you like, or are interested in.
If you love literature then you will probably learn more algebraic concepts such as equations and polynomials.
You can even make parallels between writing stories and solving equations. For example, when you add equation parts together, you have to think about what element goes into each one.
Literature students use analogies in their writings too, so thinking about mathematics in terms of storytelling could help you connect those patterns.
Artists also use numbers in their work, creating proportions, shades, and textures that influence the style of the piece. Artists organize their materials and tools according to numerical rules which helps them produce similar works later.
Consider taking a class
One of the biggest misconceptions about math is that it is only for science, technology, engineering or business professionals. This false perception comes mostly from high school teachers who feel that students have other subjects they can teach them.
This misconception has perpetuated itself because most college professors are taught in university that students should focus more on their liberal arts studies than mathematics.
Many universities do not require enough pre-requisite courses to make room for this new emphasis on the humanities. Others offer very little coverage of the material beyond stating that there is “math” involved.
Liberal arts departments include things such as English, history, economics, sociology and others. They typically don’t use calculus or algebra often, but instead rely on reasoning, patterns and concepts to understand what happens in the text.
These non-technical skills are helpful in the workplace and outside of it, so many people enjoy studying them. It doesn’t matter if you choose to be an accountant, lawyer, journalist or even a politician, being able to apply logic, reasoning, pattern recognition and conceptual understanding makes you well rounded and smart.
Learn to solve math problems
Learning how to do basic arithmetic, solving equations, and learning how to apply mathematics beyond just numbers is an integral part of studying any major that includes lots of liberal arts.
Many students get too focused on picking majors based on what courses they will take or which companies they want to work for, but sometimes it makes more sense looking at it from the other side: What kind of jobs would I like to have?
Knowing this information can help you pick your major with ease!
Not only does every profession require some level of mathematical knowledge, but most professionals are also mathematically inclined.
For example, engineers use linear algebra, statisticians know about probability theory, and lawyers learn about ethics and contracts.
All these areas include concepts such as ratios, proportions, roots, exponents, and so on.
This article will go into detail on some easy ways to improve your mathematical understanding and skills.
Practice solving math problems
When people say that liberal arts are not practical, they don’t mean it in a bad way! On the contrary, studying any given area of knowledge can be very helpful in your career. After all, you should always aim to learn as much as possible about everything so that you can add value through expertise.
The thing is though, there’s an illusion out there amongst some students that academic study is mostly about learning how to consume information and regurgitate it back like a pill. This isn’t the case at all!
It’s important to recognize that academics spend a lot of time actually applying what they have learned towards creating something new. In fact, this is one of the biggest differences between teaching and work.
We teachers get paid for our skills in application, whereas most jobs don’t. It’s why someone with a degree in English could easily choose writing over teaching-the two are quite similar, really!
This doesn’t make education useless, by any means! A college degree is still valuable because it teaches you about consumption of knowledge and concepts, but putting those lessons into action is different. You might want to consider which kind of job would better suit you before dismissing academia totally.