In my group of private music lesson students, there are several boys who are Minecraft enthusiasts. Minecraft is a video game about breaking and placing blocks to build shelter, food, clothes and weapons from resources, such as pigs and trees. At night monsters come out, so the player has to build shelter to stay safe and as the game progress, they can build community with other players. Students love how they build items, the characters in the game, and the music. In music lessons, we listen to one or two Minecraft songs, and then I build lessons around it. I find guitar chords to Herobrine’s song, piano sheet music to “Wet Hands”, always finding music that students can learn or improvise.
I read an interesting article about music and video games that made me reflect on the Minecraft music lessons I have been doing for several weeks for different students. Click here to read the full article. The article asks parents would they rather give their child a video game or a music instrument on a daily basis and explores why most parents say music instrument and end up giving video games. Video games are addicting and sometimes give parents a little “me time.” Many parents work full-time and it takes great energy, time, and patience to encourage, motivate, and maintain a child to practice daily. The latter involves some stress while video games may have no hustle until it is time to turn it off. Video games are definitely entertaining and builds kids knowledge and motor skills. With music, parents are proud and impressed when a student plays a piece of music that they worked hard to learn. Students are proud too. You can’t get those same feelings by watching kids play video games.
I do my best to combine both worlds in my music lessons for students. I take student’s Minecraft interest and make it musical by finding the sheet music for the original songs. Students are motivated to play them and build their music reading and aural skills. And then we get more creative. I utilize GarageBand and MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) to record students and have them create their own Minecraft music. They can change the instrument they are playing through the MIDI keyboard to mix their own sounds. They are in control of the music. They love seeing their work on the screen and listening to what they made; it is rewarding and fulfilling.
Music lessons are a great way to relieve stress, have a sense of satisfaction, and develop discipline. It helps students expand their attention, focus, and connect within themselves. They are always proud of every step of progress and feel a sense of accomplishment. Video games have music, so video game music can be incorporated into music lessons. Who knows, they could be future video game music developers!