Video Gaming and the music program- Dance Dance Revolution

As I was coming into school the other day, one of my students met me at the door all excited to show me something on his computer. He made sure he was there really early and was absolutely beside himself. What he had queued up on his laptop literally stopped me in my tracks.

As I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, he proudly displayed is Dance Dance Revolution (a very popular video game these days) version of our marching band opener! Complete with an animated dancer and the ubiquitous dance moves HE created, it was choreographed beautifully to our music.

All I could say was “Amazing!”. Note to self: Never underestimate my students- because the next words out of his mouth were even more amazing…

“Mr. B- this would be a great way to train students to play rhythms! We could put our music in and have them practice hitting the moves exactly in time!”. Brilliant. What a way to engage students and teach the concept of steady beat and beat subdivision!

The site he was using was a FREE resource called StepMania. At their site you can download the free software and the translators to put any mp3 file into the game. I see a whole bunch of laptops with this on it in the future for my beginners!

On a related note and to show that I’m not all that backward thinking- I had already toyed with the idea of using “guitar hero” as a reward in our guitar class for those students patient enough to learn the lessons and traditional notation (they of course think that tab is the only way music is written…)

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2 Responses to Video Gaming and the music program- Dance Dance Revolution

  1. Evan T. says:

    Definitely keep us updated on how your students use StepMania! Did any of them talk about creating their own music for it?

  2. Owen Bradley says:

    Yes! They are EXTREMELY interested in creating their own music- many of them are fooling around with garage band and then importing it. They just don’t have enough of a grasp of rhythmic melody to write a “song” for it- it just ends up being a “beat” and they are frustrated because the game is too easy. I’m trying to get them to see that the “cool” part of the game is the complex polyrhythms generated by the interaction of the melody and the “beat”- that is what is really engaging them!

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