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Rock god or game guru: Using Rocksmith to learn to play a guitar

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Multiple studies were undertaken to investigate the effectiveness of the video game Rocksmith (Ubisoft, 2011) as a learning tool, specifically assessing whether players actually learn to play the guitar while playing the game. The study also examines player motivations and attempts to understand the reasons different players spent time playing the game. One of the stated purposes of the Rocksmith video game is to teach users how to play the guitar, and a number of claims have been made of the effectiveness of this game as a musical training system with little empirical evidence to back up these claims. A number of experiments and user tests were administered in order to improve understanding of how the game educates its users and improves their skill levels when playing an electric guitar. The type of experience the users expected and experienced within the Rocksmith game was also investigated. By structuring the study in a way that allowed the users to have freedom of choice in the testing process, it was anticipated that an experience that felt natural to the participant would occur.
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Keywords: Rocksmith; education; guitar; learning; music; playing; skills; video game

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: State University of New York

Publication date: August 1, 2018

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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