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.
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 chance 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.
If you are learning to play the guitar the game can be used to help you learn the structure and form of the songs, and then you can take it to your teacher and learn the correct riffs and chords.
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. 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.
The song structure, keys and chords should be as similar as possible to the original songs. You may need to ask a teacher or other music professional to check your game songs and see if they are completely correct before using them
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 in these music games.