Guitar Hero Fans More Likely to Play Real Instruments

Dennis Faas's picture

Despite popular beliefs that video games keep people from engaging in real life activities, opting for Madden over football tryouts or Gran Turismo over studying for a license exam, in many cases games can actually stir interest in relevant activities. According to reports, games like Guitar Hero lead kids to pick up real instruments.

Research conducted by the Youth Music charity in Britain now suggests that popular rhythm and music-based games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have probably led about 2.5 million kids to learn real-life instruments. In a report, Youth Music discovered that of twelve million youngsters between the ages of three and eighteen, more than half played music-based games. At least one in five of those gamers admitted that playing musically-inspired games in turn inspired them to try playing for real.

Andrew Missingham, a lead contributor to the report and a music expert, believes that rhythm-based games can provide the spark to a life-long love of music. "We have long known that young people are encouraged to take an interest in music if it is presented to them in a compelling way," he said. "This research for the first time shows conclusively that young people are being inspired to make their own music by games that first piqued their interest." (Source:

For those still not familiar with Guitar Hero or Rock Band, the games present players with plastic, simulated instruments (from guitars to microphones, to even drum kits) and then ask them to match the colored icons on-screen with the corresponding buttons or drum pads on their instruments. Although it's not always like the real thing (while the drums come close, the Guitar Hero experience is entirely 'unique'), the games do simulate the act of creating music. And that's what makes kids want to make music for real.

Danny Lamb, a British guitar teacher, has seen more prospective students in the last year than ever before. "In the last nine months to a year, youngsters keep coming to me asking to learn odd tunes," he said. "You'll get an eight-year-old come in and want to learn Paranoid by Black Sabbath. I wonder, 'Where did they hear that from?' and of course its from Guitar Hero. The kids love it."

The fever has even translated into increased sales for the real music industry. US-based Gibson instruments has stated that people continue to buy its wares, particularly those found in Guitar Hero.

Both Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Band 2 are available this Christmas, and thankfully they're both very well reviewed by critics. (Source:

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