I was reading a post on Edutopia about using principles from video games to engage students. I was struck by how much classroom guitar programs resemble video games.
Douglas Kiang, the author of the article, points out that in video games we:
– Fail early and often – Music has practice.
– Earn badges or bonus points for great performances – Music has..um..great performances.
– Build something that matters – Music has composition and improvisation.
– Players – Ahem.
– Joysticks – Music has guitars.
So, can your classroom guitar program look even more like a video game? Kiang also suggests using an “elective credit system in which students need a certain number of credits to complete your course”. Using an elective system would allow your students/gamers to customize the way that they succeed/win in your guitar class.
Which units would be required? There are skills you need to learn and pieces you need to play. That’s the meat of everyone’s class, but let’s say it only earns students 75 points. Could your players customize the class to earn the remaining 25 points?
What elective opportunities could you offer in your guitar class? What roads could your students take to get to the end of the game? How about Guitar History or the History of Jazz. Maybe students could come dressed as their favorite guitarist or composer? How about copying sheet music (a clever way of learning to read and listen better) to earn a couple of points? Music classes especially classroom guitar is full of options.
Your classroom guitar program is probably more like a video game than you think. Why not go the extra mile and make the game customizable for all of your players..including yourself?