Teachers agree that Wii Music is highly motivating. MENC member Helen Krofchick says, “Music video games have value and a place in the curriculum as long as they are used to accompany our own teaching…. As long as Wii Music and similar programs are supplemental, I think they’re worthwhile.”
MENC member Tana Tinkey agrees, “Wii Music reinforces what we’re already doing in class. It’s a great way to expand what the students are already learning.”
What are the benefits?
- It enhances and supports traditional methods.
- It raises motivation, eliciting emotional, physical, and musical response.
- It scores student performance, giving immediate feedback and boosting a desire to score higher.
- It encourages teamwork with up to 4 players participating in the handbell activity.
- It improves eye-hand coordination.
- It helps level the playing field for students who don’t have video games or access to them at home.
What music concepts are reinforced?
- Improvisation—The game demonstrates various techniques and encourages improvisation.
- Listening and analysis
- Students can see and hear various instruments, from world instruments like the sitar to historic ones like the harpsichord.
- Ear training—students put pitches in order from high to low and build major and minor chords.
- Conducting—Students can conduct music from the curriculum, focusing on expression of motion, tempo, and special effects. Have students conduct in pairs to build teamwork.
- Playing handbells—Students can practice playing their bells at the proper time.
- Rhythm patterns—Expand on Wii lessons using rhythm sticks, tambourines, etc. for ostinatos and rhythm patterns. Students can create their own rhythm patterns.
- Different music styles—Wii demonstrates jazz, classical, reggae, rock, etc.
- “You cannot wholly teach with just Wii Music,” says Krofchick. “It in no way replaces concrete classroom instruments. Because we don’t use it every lesson, it still holds a magical interest for the students, but I wouldn’t overuse it.”
- “Music video games provide an opportunity to reinforce basic information, but hands-on experiences are the best for students,” says Tinkey.
- Students can “play” instruments without the technique and training required for the real thing. There are no fingerings to the instruments, so students can press one button over and over and still play the melody.
Krofchick and Tinkey like Wii Music because of the high interest and motivation it generates. “Don’t decry unless you give it a try, but don’t let it replace the music educator either,” says Krofchick, who also likes using Music Ace and the Groovy programs, “which are based on solid music concepts and principles.” Tinkey says, “I would even recommend it for middle and high school.”
Lesson Plans Using Wii Music:
Helen Krofchick teaches music at Doby’s Mill Elementary School in Lugoff, South Carolina. Tana Tinkey teaches music at Mentone Elementary School in Mentone, Indiana. Both are two of 70 teachers nationwide who received a Wii Music system for the classroom to pilot during the 2008-2009 school year.
–Linda C. Brown, August 12, 2009, © National Association for Music Education (nafme.org)