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Ever since the Kadan on 30th Street in University Heights started hosting Guitar Hero competitions in January 2007, the video game has been bringing out inner rockers in clubs and music shops all around town. But are gamers increasing demand for music lessons on real instruments?

“I’ve seen those little plastic guitars in about three out of every four homes I go to that also have real guitars,” says Kevin Paluzzi, of Paluzzi Guitar Instruction. “I would say that over 80 percent of all my new students under the age of 21 have played Guitar Hero before playing a real guitar.”

Not that video games provide much preparatory training, he says. “Guitar Hero does not require you to hold a proper chord shape or play a scale like the real guitar players have to, so, in my opinion, there goes about 95 percent of what it takes to play a real guitar. I do notice the game requires the player to at least hit the buttons in time to match the tempo of the song, so you can develop a sense of timing. The game also requires the left fretting hand to press or tap down on the buttons, so perhaps some finger strength can be gained.”

Tiffany Moon of the Academy of Music, Institute of Arts and Letters, says, “I have noticed the Guitar Hero and Rock Band trend, of course, but I’ve seen minimal evidence that this has increased legitimate interest in private lessons. While most students mention the games and their familiarity with them, I’ve seen few students drawn to begin music and instrument study because of them.

“This could be a mark of the economy on the socioeconomic class drawn to the games.”

Also, consider that Rock Band and Guitar Hero max out at around a hundred hours of programming — no matter how many pricey extras you pick up and how much time you spend slamming those little plastic buttons.

Or, as instructor Moon sums up, “Why play Guitar Hero, when you could BE one?”

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Trakball April 15, 2009 @ 2:26 p.m.

"Also, consider that Rock Band and Guitar Hero max out at around a hundred hours of programming — no matter how many pricey extras you pick up and how much time you spend slamming those little plastic buttons."

Not quite sure what this means, as both Rock Band and Guitar Hero allow you to buy additional tracks to extend the amount of "programming" as you refer to it.

When you consider that most games have about 8 hours worth of gameplay, even "around a hundred hours of programming" is quite a bargain.

I've been a fan of yours for a while Jay, but when you don't bother to do your research on these new fangled TeeVee games it makes you look... old.

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DavidPatrone April 19, 2009 @ 2:04 a.m.

As a professional entertainer, I hate to admit it, but I've had a lot of fun playing this game. While Guitar Hero has little or no relation to an actual instrument, Rock Band does. The singer is required to be on pitch and the timing & lyrics have to be correct. I think it's cool how it evaluates you. I agree with Tiffany; however, some people just don't have the talent, patience or time it takes to refine the necessary skills to be a professional musician.

These bars are no different than the bars that bust out Karaoke every night and although I personally would rather see a real band playing live, this kind of entertainment has been gaining a lot of popularity lately. Bar owners have to look at the bottom line, and a decent live band costs money. You're probably not going to see this kind of thing at Anthology or your local restaurant; but, we musicians can't help to admit that it's a little disheartening to see folks jamming on the wii when that could be our band playing up on that stage. It's also abrasive to watch some guy get all pleased with himself for tapping some buttons to the tempo of Eddie Van Halen's complicated solos. Non-musicos have no idea how many hours of practicing (not to mention talent and inspiration) it takes to acquire a level of proficiency whereupon you can even come close to duplicating one of those compositions (let alone think one up yourself).

It’s just a game and a really enjoyable one to boot; however, it would be nice if they had designed the guitar to at least have the colors correspond to the chords or the octave. At least then the players might learn something about music while they played the game. Couldn't they have 11 buttons instead of 5 that each correspond to a note in the scale? Or, combination of buttons or colors for certain chords... Oh wait... That's actually playing music! How silly!

As for a 100 hours of programming: Can you imagine a band that has a 100 hours of music? Do you even know of a band like that (besides Jazz guys) Imagine calling a local rock band and asking them if they had a hundred hours of music! Working rock bands are lucky if they have 6 hours of music!

I played guitar hero with my brother and it took me hours (at the very easy level) to be able to get a decent score. It would have taken me days or weeks of practice with the instrument to get proficient enough to play at the hard level. Each 3 or 4 minute song takes days to perfect, not to mention all of the competitions with friends or online opponents. 100 hours of music would probably keep you occupied for a year or so. I just wish they'd get a musician to design it so that they had some sort of relevance to the real thing. Oh wait, that would be like lessons! We can't have that!

What I want to see is Trumpet Hero, Sax Hero and Piano Hero. I want to see little Charlie Parkers and Clifford Browns and Art Tatums arise from the mediocrity of Suburbia!

minus the heroin of course...

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