Once frowned upon by just about everyone, video games are breeding a new generation of musicians. Most guitar teachers and competent players will tell you two things about the video games Guitar Hero and Rock Band. One; they stink at them. Big time. Two; they're bad for music. Playing fake music on fake instruments is more geared toward the thugs in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" or the futuristic slugs in Mike Judge's "Idiocracy." They fear kids will become prodigies at playing a video game instead of mastering a real instrument. For 11-year-old Jack Press of Delaware, the games provided a musical revolution inside his still-expanding mind. When he was 9, he and his brother Brogan saved up to buy Guitar Hero. Â At the time, Jack was mostly into pop like Michael Jackson and Pink, but playing along to tunes by the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC and Aerosmith pushed him more toward rock. By the time he was 10, Jack was ready for a real instrument. "Guitar Hero sort of inspired me to play drums," said Jack, who takes lessons with teacher Tony Mowen at the Center for Creative Arts in Yorklyn. "When I started to play Guitar Hero, it made me listen to rock more. I like that a lot better now." Jack's story is by no means unique. Despite fears the video games would drive kids away from taking up real guitars and drums and pianos, the opposite is proving true. Kids are taking up an instrument after playing one of the video games and catching the music bug. Blake Carlisle, who teaches guitar basics at Earle Teat Music in Delmar, said most of the kids who come in for lessons were inspired by Guitar Hero or Rock Band. He said about 50 percent stick with it, but he still sees the games as a positive influence. "It's definitely been very good for us," said Carlisle, who has been teaching guitar for more than 10 years. "I think kids that normally would be playing video games now pick up instruments. I think it's very good to get someone into it." Millions of copies of the video games have been sold, mostly to young people. With the Christmas shopping season in full swing, various Guitar Hero and Rock Band incarnations will be flying off shelves and into the hands of new players, potentially creating more future musicians. Delawareonline.com
His criticism comes on the eve of the release of Â ‘The Beatles Rock Band’ computer game, which allows players to play along with to band’s back catalogue.
â€œIt encourages kids not to learn, thatâ€™s the trouble. It makes less and less people dedicated to really get down and learn an instrument,â€ Wyman told BBC News. â€œI think itâ€™s a pity so Iâ€™m not really keen on that sort of stuff.â€
Nick Mason of Pink Floyd supported Wymanâ€™s comments, saying, â€œIt irritates me having watched my kids do it. If they spent as much time practising the guitar as learning how to press the buttons theyâ€™d be damn good by now.â€
However, he also confessed he wouldnâ€™t mind his bandâ€™s tracks being used on such games as they provide a new audience for their songs, adding, â€œI think everyoneâ€™s looking at new ways of selling the music because the business of selling records has almost disappearedâ€.
Alex Rigopulos, one of the co-founders of the company that creates the Rock Band games, defended his product and claimed, â€œWeâ€™re hearing from fans who were inspired by Rock Band to start studying a real instrumentâ€.
The Guitar Hero series alone has sold more than 25 million games globally collecting revenues of $2 billion and can claim Simon Cowell among its celebrity fans.