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Gaming for Music Ed

There are music video games waiting for you discover that are oriented almost entirely around the player’s ability to follow a musical beat and stay with the rhythm of the game’s soundtrack. Rhythm/music games are distinct from purely audio games in that they feature visual feedback, that lead the player through the game’s soundtrack. Innovative band director Wiley Cruse, featured in last month’s tech article (Volume 11, No. 5) uses Dance Dance Revolution, produced by Konami. Wiley uses the game with two dance pads, each with four arrow panels: left, right, up and down. These panels are pressed using the player’s feet, in response to arrows that appear on the T.V. screen in front of the player. The arrows are synchronized to the general rhythm or beat of a chosen song, and success depends on the player’s ability to time and position his or her steps according. On Fridays as a reward for doing well all week, Mr. Cruse has his students compete against each other as they dance rhythm patterns. Students can’t get enough of it and it’s a great reward incentive for good work and progress. Rock Band (from Harmonix, MTV Games, and /Electronic Arts) lets players jam with hit rock songs using guitar-, bass-, and drum-shaped controllers or singing into a microphone to match pitch and rhythm. The game lets up

to four bandmates play together in front of a TV or over the Internet. Guitar Hero III is a music video game developed by Aspyr Media for computer versions and published by Activision and RedOctane. The player uses a guitarshaped controller and “performs” a variety of 60 rock songs by playing notes as they scroll in time with the music. For a free clone, download Frets on Fire. You have to play a specific note at the correct time in order to rack up points. Frets on Fire is a fun rhythm game with multiple levels of difficulty, downloadable tracks and the option to create your own songs, and it’s free. For maximum enjoyment, invest in a wireless keyboard and a good set of PC speakers. Would-be Leonard Bernsteins who wave the remote control correctly as they try out UBS Virtual Maestro can experience a small part of what it’s like to be a conductor. A similar game, You’re the Conductor, lets players use simplified versions of instruments to play popular songs for points. These games are intended to mimic the feel of conducting a real orchestra. A good URL for game ratings can be found at: www. esrb.org. To take full advantage of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating system, it’s important to check both the rating symbol on the front of the box and the content descriptors on the back.

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P.O. Box 70 Grabill, IN 46741 (800) 348-1012 www.xlspec.com School Band and Orchestra, June 2008 51

SBO June 2008  

SBO June 2008

SBO June 2008  

SBO June 2008

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