This is a description of how educational music games can help you when learning music.
Who remembers going to traditional piano lessons? Where you had to go to Mrs Jones’s house and sit up straight on the stool, and play the right notes or you’d get a swift ruler tap on the back of the knuckles?
Well thankfully times have changed, and (we hope) that piano teachers no longer plan to teach with a ruler as their main means of correcting students!
However, a new type of Music Lessons have evolved over the last few years: These things that are part educational, and very much sold to the entertainment market – they are computer games.
We are talking about games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, and there is definitely some educational value in playing them. When you are playing through the songs it can really feel like you are playing the instrument.
The great thing about these games is that it is giving people the opportunity who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to pick up an instrument and know what it feels like to be on stage with a guitar, or play a tune on a piano.
However these games should never be your main way of learning the instrument if you are really serious about playing music.
These games can provide excellent help with learning music, provided you use them in combination with lessons from a teacher. They certainly shouldn’t be written off as having no educational value.
For example if learning guitar you can learn the form and structure of a song through playing the game, then go and learn the correct chords and riffs from a teacher.
The drum beats which are in the Rock Band game are fairly close to real drum patterns, however the layout of the drum kit isn’t quite the same as a real one.
Learning piano with one of the Piano learning tools such as Piano Wizard can also be helpful. In this game you can play the notes on the screen in real time on a proper electric piano which is hooked up to the computer via MIDI.
The things to look for when choosing a music game:
It is best if you can use a Real Instrument as the controller for the game. This should be easy for the piano programs like piano wizard, however the technology isn’t quite there for guitar yet to play the game with a real instrument.