As musicians, we’ve all heard the same word repeated over and over our entire carreer…Practice! I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned, if you love to practice you’re probably not playing out very much. I personally don’t love to practice. I love it when I have a brand new instrument or when I’m learning a new instrument but that newness wears off quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I practice regularly and so should you. But don’t you like to practice when you’re having a lot of fun at the same time?
I have to tell you that the new game Rock Band by Harmonix has had a profound effect on my singing. I knew the game would be fun, whacking away on a toy guitar controller and pounding on electronic drum pads but I didn’t give the singing a second thought. When we got the game, I found the singing portion to be easy and fun. The game detects when you sing in tune, sing on the beat and say the correct phrases. Then you get scored on those abilities and if you suck too badly, you kill off your whole show. I have to admit, that’s real world when it comes to bad singing. People don’t stay at your shows very long when you have a bad singer.
Since I’ve been playing Rock Band it’s helped my singing several ways and I’ve noticed it when I’ve played gigs. These are the ways it’s helped me the most in terms of singing:
- I sing a lot more in tune now.
- I have tons of stamina and can sing a whole show without losing my voice.
- It’s helped my timing with getting the words into the rythmic groove with the rest of the band.
- I can hit high notes a lot easier now.
- I can hold notes out longer and keep them in tune.
That’s just how Rock Band has helped me with my singing. It helps on the other instruments as well although not as radically. The next instrument it helps the most with after singing is drums. It doesn’t help you with technique such as the proper way to hold sticks or the proper striking technique. It does really help with hand and foot coordination. In fact, it radically helps with that. It also helps you keep a steady beat. If you’re not steady, the band gets booed off the stage. Again, true to life.
On guitar, Rock Band helps primarily with rhythm and a little bit with finger coordination. You probably get the least real-world benefit from playing guitar in Rock Band.
On all instruments, it helps you as a musician to follow a chain of notes or phrases that you must complete on the beat to be able to continue playing. This does somewhat translate into reading music notation even though you don’t have to read the entire musical staff. It does help you keep your eye on the page while playing without looking at your hands all the time.
So I’m recommending Rock Band for all of those reasons. It really is a good purchase for a musician. Is it the same as playing in a real band? Kind of, but not nearly as fulfilling as a crowded room of people going crazy over a killer performance that you really played. Does it help your live playing? YES IT DOES! So get it, I put some links in this post so you can find the game easily. Have fun!
Make sure you check out the full Live Musician Central review of Rock Band 2 Special Edition too.