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Music Class for the Wii Ones

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Parents may regret repeating the adage "practice makes perfect" to their children when they find out the latest tool to enter music teachers' classrooms around the country. Sixty music teachers are working with game manufacturer Nintendo and the National Music Education Association to bring the game “Wii Music” into classrooms, according to MSNBC.

Unlike popular music-oriented video games like “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band,” “Wii Music” doesn’t make players perform existing songs. Rather, players experiment with 60 instruments to improvise and compose their own music—a feature that appeals to S.C. music teacher Helen Krofchick.

“Children spend a lot of their classroom time following specific directions—what to read, what to do—and very little time actually expressing themselves in the arts,” Krofchick says. “Some can be shy to come forward and actually sort of jump in and try something. But if anything is presented to a child in the form of a game, it’s going to be much more student-friendly.”

4 Comments

Well, I can see the 'recreational' value in this activity to de-stress after a long day of school, but as a music educator, I am wondering why we are not wanting our students to 'create' with some actual preliminary content knowledge or foundation? If this were pushed on me as a music teacher, I'd use it sparingly. I only see my students once a week. Music is a language to learn. When taught logically and factually, in a very sequential manner, anyone can comprehend music!! To "play" with music and never learn how to master it ---vocally or on an instrument is just cheating the student. Children are more intelligent than many give them credit --and deserve more than to be simply pacified or ENTERTAINED with a toyish approach to learning music, which does not eventually give more content and mastery of their subject. I do not mean that learning can't and shouldn't be fun. But the real fun is in a feeling of accomplishment. This 'method' sounds like more of the 'fun and games' approach that many who have no musical knowledge or skills have grown to expect music classes to provide --a break from the regular serious subjects.
Practice, at anything is what promotes progress. Dabbling is just that, dabbling. And in time, boredom will arrive if there is no concrete information to absorb. / From
a career music teacher who loves teaching music and the appreciation of it and hates to be told by non-musicians --particularly those from capitalistic corporate boardrooms ---HOW we music teachers should be teaching our subject of specialty...when they have little idea of our preparation for the profession.

I have actually already used this in my classroom (Cypress Elementary -- Kissimmee, Florida) and the kids LOVED it. They automatically bought into whatever I was teaching that day.

Without making this response too long, the overarching theme of the lesson was Instrument Families. The children had a chance to "play" instruments from all of the families.

The only downside (which is humorous) is that the kids still ask if I am bringing back Wii Music months after I finished the lesson.

Bringing entertainment they use at home into the classroom is key to grabbing the attention of this tech-savvy generation.

I highly recommend Wii Music.

I felt a need to respond to laura:

Music Learning shouldn't be put in a box of what is acceptable and unacceptable.

If I can connect children to music standing on my head all day I would...Wii Music and forward thinking ideas like it could open the door for a student to start appreciating music. You cannot learn something until you have an appreciation for it.

When I used Wii Music in my class, kids that I have never shown an interest in music were going crazy for this because they GOT IT. For the first time, it was in a (to use your word) "language" they understood.

I say, those moments and this technology, shouldn't be shunned just because it isn't the norm or because you don't get the technology.

We should be ready to adopt anything that will connect children to music.

This is just another way of doing that.

In the end, I still come back to educating the student. Music should be taught in a sequential manner, just like reading and math. I see the Wii as being a supplement to curriculum, a teaching aid, but not a solid replacement for a teacher and a comprehensive structure to music education. I will give you that. ANd the instrument 'play' does sound useful and fun. My concern is for how we still do not have music teachers in all schools at all grade levels and that our curriculum is watered down. I believe students who love music and will make a career of it some day to have the opportunity to take conducting, composing music theory -AP in all our schools!! We have a long way to go and having kids dabble in the arts through occasional visiting guest artist presentations or singing once a week, or using computer technology to experience music is not music education.
There will always be a reason to cut the arts programs to give more time to math and reading in America.

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  • Laura Collins: In the end, I still come back to educating the read more
  • Kyle McDonald: I felt a need to respond to laura: Music Learning read more
  • Kyle McDonald: I have actually already used this in my classroom (Cypress read more
  • Laura Collins: Well, I can see the 'recreational' value in this activity read more

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