This is a very important point for teachers and parents. When does a computer game become education, and when is it just entertainment?
What are the critical aspects that make a game educational, and something that would make us as teachers and parents spend our dollars, time and energy on it?
In our niche of music there are many games: Some of the music games which are available today are nothing more than an evolution of the toy guitar that you’d give a toddler to play with. There are a few that are far more advanced, and are almost close to playing a real instrument.
So what is educational when it comes to games? Music teachers are definitely split on this issue. Most I know still teach the same way they always have, and probably won’t be spending money on too many games. Some aspects of the games however do deserve our attention, as there is some real educational worth there
This is the question we need to ask before engaging in any game activity: ”What does this game show or teach me (or my students or children) that I previously did not know?”
When you learn something you take something which you didn’t know before and make it known. it really is that simple Are you making anything known that wasn’t already when you are playing that computer game? If all you are doing is playing one game over and over again you won’t achieve anything but being good at that level.
The music game can be a great educational experience if you constantly introduce new songs and use the educational music games as a vehicle to move forward with your skills.
Music game developers should consult instrument specialists when building games about specific instruments, so that playing the game does not negatively impact students technique when playing the real thing. Most do, but as usual when there is a big market there will always be cheap imitations who cut down the price and also cut down the educational value by not investing in this quality researched advice.
If you always ask this question: What is this game teaching me that I previously didn’t know? Then you’ll find that besides being very enjoyable that time spent on music games will actually build musical skills.