Remember old fashioned piano lessons? Sitting up straight on the hard piano bench where the lovely Mrs Smith would give you a gentle tap on the back of the hand with a ruler if you didn’t curl your fingers properly!

Well these days things are a little different and we hope that teachers of piano students no longer use rulers to correct their students posture!

However, a new type of Music Lessons have evolved over the last few years: Computer Games which are part entertainment, and part education.

Certainly there is some worth in games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band Sometimes it can really feel like playing the real instrument when you are playing these games

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 method 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. Games like this do have educational value – quite a lot of it in fact.

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.

If you are learning drums there is some value in playing the Rock band drum kit, however its layout isn’t quite the same as a real kit, which is a bit disappointing from an educational perspective.

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. You can then follow it up with a fun music theory worksheet to help your progress.

The things to look for when choosing a music game:

Try and find a program that you can use a Real instrument with.With piano this is easy, as you can simply use a MIDI hooked up keyboard, however its much more difficult (and expensive!) with guitar and drum based games.

Look for games where the song structure, chords and keys are as close as possible to the original songs as possible. You will need to consult a teacher about specific songs that you want to play and ask them to check them for correctness.

As we are at the forefront of this technology it won’t be long before there are games which have a lot of educational worth and value, with real instruments being used as the game controllers.

Make sure you check out the educational music games available from the Fun Music Company.