• How Guitar Hero can make you a better musician

    in Musician Fun

    Guitar Hero III for WII

    Ok, I know some of you are like “what the heck” but it’s true… joining your kids in playing Guitar Hero can really help your piano skills. :)

    For my folks who’ve never played or heard of it, there are these little icons moving toward you in different columns and you have to hit the correct note on this little plastic guitar that comes with the game.

    One note might be red, another blue… another yellow or green. They all own their own column and as their notes move forward, you have to hit them correctly AND at the right time. Sometimes more than one at a time… sometimes very fast and in complex rhythms. I haven’t gotten to the super duper advanced lessons but from watching online videos at youtube, they seem to get pretty difficult.

    guitar hero screenshot

    From a musician’s perspective, I think the game can actually help with your coordination and independence (cause’ it takes a lot to advance to the more difficult parts of the game). I think there’s even something to be said about melodies and ear-training (at least anticipating upper and lower neighboring tones in a melody… more on this later).

    Case in point:

    When my friend invited me to play the game for the first time, he was telling me of how hard it was. But the thing is, he’s not a musician so for him, he had to build his coordination and independence from SCRATCH whereas I already had some on the piano, but not the guitar.

    So as soon as he turned on the first level and I got a few wrong (because I was getting used to it), but then blazed through the rest, he was like “mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, you’re a natural.” Then he quickly remembered… “but you’re a musician, see! Always gotta show off!” LOL.

    So it’s true, if you play at a reasonable speed on the piano and have some good right-hand/left-hand coordination, you’ll like this game and you’ll probably do good up until a certain point without much prior experience.

    Another thing I noticed about it was that the notes were designed on the screen so that if the melody went up, you played higher notes on your plastic guitar… if the melody went down, you went the opposite way so it actually felt natural (of course these aren’t real notes… you only have 5 on your guitar controller but when the melody went up, you played the notes toward the body of the guitar and when the melody went down, you played the notes toward the neck of the guitar).

    So was I always relying solely on the colors that appeared on the screen? NOPE! I was actually relying on my ear and how I knew the song went. That allowed me to almost anticipate and have an extra second to prepare to go up “3” notes, for example, and then back down “3” notes while someone with no musical experience may eventually figure this out intuitively but ultimately relies on the colors on the screen until that concept clicks for them.

    But then the game gets super fast and if you’re not a guitarist or used to moving your fingers that fast, you’ll hit a brick wall.

    This is where you’ll really benefit because it’s not the stuff you practice and that you ALREADY KNOW… it’s the stuff that you can’t seem to figure out so easily and comes with a lot of reiteration and practice that makes you grow!

    Now I don’t want you guys to think… “Ok, Jermaine’s just excited about this game… he’ll never mention it again.” Maybe that’s true.

    But actually, I’ve known about this game for years and first got introduced in 2007. It got dusty on my shelf for several months until I pulled it out this morning and started playing it again. Then I decided to blog about it.

    Has anyone played Guitar Hero? Do you agree with what I’m saying?

    Do you think it’s just a game or can it help some part of your playing? So are you going to let you kids play more of it? :)

    See ya next time!

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    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

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