Music Lessons vs. Music Video Games

April 26, 2022

I have discovered through conversations with some of my students that they dedicate approximately two hours every day to playing video games. This is a significant amount of time to allocate towards leisure activities. As a result, it’s important to evaluate the impact of music video games on a child’s musical growth. There are advantages and disadvantages to playing music video games that need to be considered.

Do video games positively affect musical development?

Video games and rhythmic ability:

Playing music video games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero involves pushing buttons in sync with the rhythm. This helps build a solid grasp of rhythm and timing, which are crucial for mastering any musical instrument. Plus, it’s a fun way to improve your hand-eye coordination.

Ideally inspires some to take music lessons on a real instrument:

It’s possible that the masterminds behind Guitar Hero and Rock Band designed these captivating and enjoyable games with the intention of motivating players to eventually trade in their controllers for real instruments and take music lessons. If you are considering music lessons for yourself or your child, take a look at our article titled “4 Signs That Music Lessons Are Your Next Step“. For those seeking to purchase their inaugural guitar, it’s recommended to peruse our article on “Making Your First Guitar Purchase.

Exposure to new music/new bands:

One thing I’ve observed about my students and their relationship with Guitar Hero is that they often recognize songs and exclaim, “I know this one! It’s in Guitar Hero!” This, in turn, can pique their interest to explore more of the band’s music. By fostering an appreciation for the bands and songs featured in these games, we can use it as a way to connect them to the world of live music practice. For a more in-depth view of the overall impact of music and video games, check out our article “Are Rhythm Games Good For You?”

Cons of video games as music lessons

Kids think it’s easy to play a real musical instrument:

Learning to play a musical instrument is not as easy as using a video game controller. I’ve had friends who were into gaming express interest in playing the guitar but were quickly discouraged by the difficulty level, which they found to be much higher than that of video games.

You are not learning a language. You are learning “colored buttons” :

Playing Guitar Hero may be fun, but it’s important to understand that it’s not the same as real music. While music is a complex language with chords, scales, and rhythms, pressing colored buttons on a plastic guitar controller is a simplified version of playing an instrument. It’s not a true conversation with your friends about the intricacies of music. Additionally, the experience of playing Guitar Hero is vastly different from playing a real guitar. The physicality of the strings and buttons is not the same, and it doesn’t provide the same tactile feedback as playing a real instrument.

No technique:

As a beginner student, it can be frustrating to discover that playing musical instruments requires physical technique. This is a significant challenge that players face as they strive to produce the right notes and achieve pleasing sounds.


If you have a child who loves games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, give them the opportunity to experience real music lessons through our private or group sessions, rock band program, or summer camp. Click here to contact us to learn more about our music lessons, guitar lessons, piano lessons, rock band classes, and vocal lessons at our St. Louis location.