Should We Be Using Instrumental Music Video Games In The Music Classroom?

Yes, as with the other video games out there like the “Guitar Hero” series, the new craze this year is the the launch of the “Beatles:Rock Band ” video game. It has recently has hit the streets and looks like it could become game of the year leading up to Christmas. Of course the launch of this game also coincides with the launch of the Beatle’s Remastered Catalogue which is an amazing 14 CDs and I’m sure many of us will be looking into this over Christmas as well.

I can’t deny that I feel this game would be a perfect motivating tool to use as a reward or fun activity for Classroom music lessons this year -especially for all those out there who are teaching the History of Rock and Roll.

Video Games can certainly be great motivating tools for this current generation of students. They connect with the idea of video games and are very good at picking them up quickly while they are enjoying a new experience. Just think through using this game they get to experience what it would really be like to play at a gig like the Cavern where the screaming of the girls in the crowd is louder than their actual playing anyway!

Seth Schiesel from the NewYorkTimes.com said;
“In the game’s story line mode, players inhabit the various Beatles as they progress from the Cavern Club to Ed Sullivan’s stage; Shea Stadium; the Budokan in Japan; Abbey Road; and their final appearance on the Apple Corps roof in 1969”

Don’t worry, I’m not about to say that this should take the place of teaching a subject like the History of Rock and roll entirely. But imagine how attentive and easily your classes would get through the material presented to them if they saw a set up of a two guitar, rock drum kit and vocal microphone set up on the side for afterwards!
Imagine how effective it would be to revise the history learned by actually being involved and interacting in it. Sure I know they would only be playing on plastic buttons instead of real strings, sticks and microphones, but if it’s used once in a while does it really matter!- we can still teach a few chords on real guitars as well and I bet the student would retain more knowledge about the Beatles in that one game interaction than they would in a whole lesson of lectures.

Apparently the game is just as entertaining for the onlookers than what it is for those playing, so it wouldn’t take too long to rotate an entire class through with having a go while keeping your audience fully entertained at the same time with four playing at a time. (I think it is possible to have two extra singers playing in the new game as well.)

There’s just no denying that interactive video games are becoming great learning tools!

Here’s a video I found on you tube about the game ;

Let me know what you think. Has anyone got one already and has anyone already tried it with their classes?
I hope this has sparked a few thoughts so please let me know what you think using the comment box below.

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6 Comments

  • By Music Technology Lover Reply

    First, I think that any tool that gets kids interested or excited about music has merit. But if you’re using programs like Rock Band at lesson time, you have to ask yourself what your students are really learning from it – since you are supposed to be teaching them during that time.

    I have been using a program called Piano Marvel in my teaching. It hooks up to an actual piano so the kids actually learn the instrument, but it’s still a game where they try to play the song with as few wrong notes as possible, and work to get trophies. I have a six year old in particular who absolutely loves it! And she’s learning the piano almost all on her own. Pretty impressive. She practices at home on it too, because it’s fun. You can check their free trial at: https://www.pianomarvel.com/users/free-trial/3EEED31A

  • By paloma Reply

    I don’t see a problem with using music video games as a reward in a music class setting. Obviously, the reward should not be an everyday occurance that takes up half the class time, but I can see how saying that a solid week of good rehearsal could earn a Guitar Hero party. Not only is it incentive for the students to work hard at rehearsals, but it is a unity activity that helps the ensemble bond and get to know each other on a level outside of the class setting.

  • By Robbie Reply

    I have to say I love the idea of using video games in Music Education, but not a as a sole method for teaching. This version of Rockband is beneficial to learn about Beatles songs, which can also help teach history. It’s the teacher’s responsibility to take this game, and incorporate it in such a way that the students learn more than if they just played. Another game like this would be WiiMusic. It allows students to ‘play’ several instruments, and kind of get an idea of improvisations, tempo, and composing. There are even games that can help students learn classic songs. Of course, none of this can ever replace learning to play an instrument.

  • By learn piano songs Reply

    One should try new thing and should observe that it can be working. And if one like then he can continue .

  • By spuggy Reply

    I don’t see any problem with using these games in the classroom as a reward maybe, but not for educational purposes.

  • By Judy Reply

    I teach general music to k-2 students. I have WiiMusic at home, and when I first got it, I thought that it might be a fun way to introduce my students to the instruments and instrument families. However, after I looked at it logistically and realized just how long it would take for every student to have even a little turn, I thought that it would be too time consuming and decided against using it. If I taught 3-5 though, I might consider it because many students that age are more familiar with the Wii and how it works, so it would take less explaining. They also might be a little more patient while waiting their turn!

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