Thoughts + Articles

Curly’s Advice

Think about this carefully! What one thing do you want to change and fix in your life this year? That should be your New Year’s resolution. Throw out that list of ten things you will never do.

Dave Sheffield, The Shef, speaker, mentor, and author, just wrote a new article for this New Year called “One Word Can Change your Life”. He asked, “What if one word could change your year for the better?”

Dave’s article got me to thinking! In Billy Crystal’s movie “City Slickers”, Cowboy Curly, tells Mitch, “Do you know what the secret of life is?” That’s when Curly held “up one finger.” When Mitch wanted to know “what is the one thing?” Curly said, “That’s what you have to find out.” Like Mitch, “you have to find out” the one thing you want to accomplish this year.

Dabney, a friend of mine, said this year she would like to have a “nest egg” for the future. I said, “How about socking away $50 a month out of your pay check?” She said, “I’m going to do it and I’m going to get my kids to do it too! That way each of us will have $600 in our nest egg by the end of the year.”

Many years ago, my older son was in the fourth grade and did not understand fractions. In fact his entire class was failing fractions. His teacher did not know what to do.

I remembered my teacher and mentor at the Juilliard School, Mr. William Lincer saying, “Math is rhythm and rhythm is math.” I looked at my son’s math book and saw that eight authors had written his math book and each page contained eight different math-teaching concepts.  Children like adults learn one thing at a time and build on this foundation. I decided to simplify this to one concept per page. My children have always enjoyed music and what makes music special is the rhythm. I began writing math to rhythm equivalents to make it easier for my son to understand the math concepts step by step. He also learned math through the rhythm of music by visually seeing the math to rhythm combination, by clapping and tapping the rhythms, and by hearing the combinations. We made it into a game. That was when my son understood fractions.

His math teacher called me and asked, “How come your son now understands fractions?” I explained the concept to him. He then said, “Can you come and show me how to teach my class fractions?”

I said, “I’d be happy to help you.” I went to the public school the next day and showed his teacher how to teach fractions through the rhythm of music. My son’s class all understood fractions after that.

On a side note, when this math teacher tried to use my new math to rhythm program to teach fractions he decided to submit my work as his at the local college for his teaching certificate project.

I received a call from the head of the education department at the local college asking, “If I had just written a “math to rhythm program” to teach fractions to children?” I said, “Yes, I had written it for my older son who was having trouble with learning fraction in his fourth grade class at the local public school. I also told her the name of his teacher at the school.” She told me to “publish my “Math to rhythm program” immediately!” That was the year I published my first book.

I asked my Mom, Romayne Leader Frank, what she thought we should call my new “Math to rhythm” book that teaches fractions and decimals through the rhythm of music to children in kindergarten-5th grade?  She said, call it “Musical Notes On Math”. It later became a winner of the Parent-to-Parent Adding Wisdom Award.

Dr. Albert Einstein said it best,” If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

So, what “one thing” do you want to accomplish this New Year? As Cowboy Curly might say, “You have to decide that.”


Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an Best Selling Author, sought after speaker, business owner, motivational teacher, researcher, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Businesses”. Her innovative observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your businesses successful. She writes a monthly newsletter “Madeline’s Monthly Article & Musical Tips” and a monthly radio show “Madeline’s One Minute Musical Radio Show”. She has just published her new book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget”.

Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at







This entry was posted on Sunday, January 12th, 2014 at 1:27 am and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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