While perusing the headlines on Google News, I came across the following headline: “Life After The Beatles: What Is The Future Of ‘Rock Band’?“ Now, honestly, I haven’t even read the article, but the headline did catch my attention.
While listening to ‘Morning Edition’ on the way to work, there was lots of talk about how kids these days are listening to music that you would typically expect a mid 40’s or 50’s adult to be listening to. Kids are learning about these Classic Rock hits that ordinarily would be way out of their generation, but are actually being brought back through games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. These kids playing their toy guitars, pushing buttons and flicking a toggle are entranced by the visuals on the screen and the music coming from the speakers. As they ‘fake’ play the music, they are connected in a moment with the music that is really incomparable to any other sensation. As cheesy as it sounds, the kids are becoming ‘One’ with the music and the artists (Santana/Rolling Stones/Eric Clapton and now, The Beatles).
Well bringing it back to the original MTV news article about the future of Rock Band, I really think there is an opportunity to really teach some music. Let’s face it, the guitar is a ‘cool’ instrument. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who if given the opportunity to learn to play the guitar, would pass it up. In the recent past Rock Band and Guitar Hero introduced a toy guitar that has 5 colored keys and a flipper, but is just that, a toy. It is not a musical instrument. If you were to turn off the game console and play the Rock Band guitar, you would look like a fool. My thoughts are taking Rock Band to the next level and introducing real musical instruments.
Technology is great. When you plug a guitar into a tuner, the little monochromatic display can tell you what note you are playing. This isn’t anything new, really. Tuners have been around for a long time. Also, with technologies such as Shazam that compare short audio clips to a song database and can identify the song by title/artist/album and the whole 9 yards … there is so much potential. What if Rock Bands next release comes with an adapter that you plug your 1/4” jack from your guitar into and converts it to the console plug. You plug your guitar directly into your Wii / XBox / PlayStation or whatever it is that strikes your fancy.
Then, you could work through these legendary pieces of music on a whole new level. The game could teach you to play an actual instrument and not just a toy that has no purpose beyond the game. This type of musical education would be monumental in the prolonging of classic hits and teaching the masses about music and the true power it holds.
There would of course be lots of details to work out, such as the very elementary education of holding/tuning/playing the guitar … but I have no doubts that these intro to guitar classes would just be an afterthought when the real music started playing. As people get older, they lose sight of the potential that a kid has. If there is one quality that most kids possess, it is determination. Step the level up on the Video Game / Musical Instrument market and start rockin’ and rollin’!