With the short attention span of so many kids these days, how do we reach out and turn them on to the interactive fun of musical instruments? Give them an interactive video game, of course.
In Washington D.C. a new program is trying to entice kids into the music curriculum with Wii Music. On Thursday kids at H.D. Cooke Elementary had a chance to musically fling their arms around, with enthusiastic school staff and Nintendo reps.
D.C. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee is trying to prioritize the musical curriculum by pledging to have at least one music teacher on staff in every school. Isn’t that a bold commitment? The Wii Music Program is planned for at least 50 other U.S. cities as part of a collaboration between Nintendo and the National Association for Music Education in which Nintendo is donating hardware and software.
Nintendo's J.C. Rodrigo said in a Fox News interview that it’s meant as “merely a supplemental tool to teachers and to parents to get their children interested in music; that’s the most important part.” Certainly Nintendo is only interested in building support for arts education and not the captive audience of thousands of young children still chewing off the pant legs of the parents who haven’t bought one for home yet. ‘I need it for school!’ might not just work for laptops anymore, kids!
Well, I'm always glad to see games in schools.
I wish I was 20 years younger and could start school by playing the Wii. Seriously, the best we ever got was a robot that you could programme to wander about on a linear path. Actually, come to think of it, that was pretty darned awesome.
I seem to remember programming a similar robot, Nanaki! Ours was a round sort of chap called Turtle. I once made him draw a big square - that was my crowning academic achievement right up until University.
As for Wii Music, I'm curious to see whether it will encourage pupils to interact more with music, or whether it'll discourage them by showing it as somewhat facile and bearing no real similarity to actually learning an instrument. Guess which side I'm on
I think we had the same robot then. Ours certainly resembled a turtle. I'm very tempted to get one off eBay...
Also, I used to make the robot go down the corridor and into the other classrooms- that was my crowning accomplishment.
Our school had one of those turtles too. It was like a really crap version of Big Trak as I recall. Big Trak was pretty useless itself, 5 paces north, 3 paces west - now raise your trailer and dump the apple. Woohoo!!
I bet kids have hours of fun at school now with all this new tech, things have moved on a lot since the early 90s! I remember coding BBC BASIC in our computer classes and thinking it was the bees knees.
We had a BBC Micro, but our top-end computer room was decked out with the RM Nimbus - such power! There were even rumours of a 386 sat behind locked doors somewhere, operated by a team of super scientists...
I wish they would push these musical games less and real instruments more.
Well, until governments start valuing arts curricula over science and maths, I think this is as good as it gets Corbie.
I've had Wii Music for a week now (b-day Amazon giftcard purchase) and I enjoy it. It's overpriced but a nice bit of fun and thankfully not actually a game, but just something to noodle about with. I do wish there was more musical theory content and the ability to download new tracks, but if you can get it cheap I think it's worthwhile.
It's a shame really, but the games which try to be a bit more detailed with music either fall flat on their face or appeal to a niche audience, despite their quality. Electro Plankton on the DS is a classic example.
Commercialisation seems to be the only real way for developers to get a return on their products.
Not to mention the recent Korg DS synthesiser.
You can't help but think if someone really put their heart and soul into it you'd be able to make an amazing music creation tool with Wii and DS connection.
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