By now, the known universe and beyond are aware of the “Guitar Band” videogames. I personally hate them. I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully I might add) to play guitar since 1979. It’s a skill that I just do not have. I’ve tried lessons, DVDs, web sites, and voodoo. I simply do not have the manual dexterity to make it happen.
I’m not disciplined enough to practice. I lack proper motivation. It’s as simple as that.
Well…fear not dear reader. If you’re anything like me, there’s a solution. For the musically untalented, you can get someone to pitch-correct and auto-tune your songs. For those not actually in the music business, there are videogames that somewhat approximate musical acumen. Oh yeah. They’re the biggest things out there. People have social get-togethers to pretend to be their favorite musicians. They attempt to play songs that actually took skill to write and perform…on little plastic toy instruments.
In the interest of fairness, this is both the best and worst thing to happen musically this generation.
On the plus side, people are coming together to appreciate music long-since abandoned by radio and MTV. The South Park satire of this fact is so brilliant, that my attempt to describe it would do Trey Parker and Matt Stone a huge disservice. In fact, it would be to them what those video games are to actual musicians.
To see kids who’ve never experienced the majesty of the Beatles, Rush or any of a variety of bands that might be considered “unhip,” embrace the songs, is nothing short of fantastic. It’s music education. It’s a new chance to discover, and appreciate. Much like we once did when we cut open the plastic and read the liner notes as the music played in the background.
In the mp3 world, music has no real character. There’s nothing tangible to connect with. Some would argue that that’s really the point. Music is aural art. And therefore, shouldn’t need external stimuli to trigger our sense of appreciation. That line of thinking is what got us into this mess in the first place.
Music has always been combined with visuals. Think Elvis on Ed Sullivan. Or the aforementioned Beatles. Or, if you’re not quite that old, and if you can, remember MTV? For me…it was Ace Frehley on “Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert.”
Any way you slice it (Yes, I know it’s a random KISS lyric. I just hope Gene Simmons never sees this article), those videogames are the next logical step in the discovery of music. And, the fact that radio certainly isn’t bending over backward to inspire passion in their presentation…Where else would we see such attachment to music manifest itself?
However, that passion comes at a potential cost.
The greatest effect that those videogames can have is to inspire the young kid that has mastered the red-blue-green button mashing combination, to now actually take the next step. Hell, it doesn’t have to be a young kid. My good friend Curtiss started playing in his mid-40s. Head on down to your local instrument retailer, and actually pick up a guitar.
You’re already halfway there. You’ve built up the concept of manual dexterity. In effect, you’ve learned to (kind of) sight-read music. It’s not the same skill. But, it is the same discipline.
Real musicians will tell you…Most of them, cannot play “music” videogames. It requires a different thought process. However, there’s not a whole lot of difference. If you love playing those games, and have spent the money on the upgrades, you’re already conditioned for the costs incurred when picking up an instrument.
Imagine what you might actually do. I’ll give you a hint: You might actually change music.
Instead of pushing plastic buttons, you may actually tap in to something you have buried deep inside. Something that flows through your guitar. And those people playing the game with you might also find themselves inspired to do the same.
Next thing you know…you’ve got an actual band, making real music of their own.
I hate those videogames. They give people a sense of hope that they can actually play songs. They bring them joy. They encourage social interaction. And most of all…they provide that spark that I was never dedicated enough to nurture into actual musical ability.
It’s jealousy. Envy even. I’m so mad, I’m going to get my guitar out right this instant and compose a song about how videogames are stealing the soul from music!
I think I’ll call it…“Videogames Killed the Radio Star.”Like Free Gotham on Facebook...