With four-piece guitar bands seemingly everywhere you look these days - I think I might have seen at least a couple lurking on the train I caught to work this morning - now might seem like a strange time to be predicting that their existence could soon be under threat. However, I am starting to wonder if the rise of the ‘musical video game´ could stymie the potential of the rock stars of the future.
We´re always being told that children now have a much wider choice of leisure activities than ever before, but that´s only because it´s true. However, while the choice used to be whether to pick up a guitar or play a video game, titles such as Guitar Hero mean that kids can now do both at the same time. Or at least they think they can.
Don´t get me wrong: I love a bit of Singstar and I can see the attraction of being able to pick up a plastic axe and sound (something) like a rock god within minutes, but if the youth of today (and here was me thinking I´d never use that phrase) are getting their musical kicks from a PlayStation or Xbox, are they really going to bother to pick up a real instrument?
It´s not that teenagers don´t have the dedication to put in the hours of practice - some of the Guitar Heros I know could have become accomplished players for real had they invested their video game time into learning a ‘proper instrument´- simply that they might feel that they no longer need to.
Maybe I´ve got this wrong, but I worry that being a virtual virtuoso could prove to be more than enough for most kids, and if they´re spending their time in front of the TV, they won´t be out there forming bands and shaping the music we´ll all be listening to in years to come.
By Ben Rogerson