A survey by UK music charity Youth Music suggests that rhythm and singing games are driving them to take up real musical pursuits.
It's yet another study on the subject, and it may not sound like an overwhelming number — 19 percent of youngsters now playing instruments or signing said a game inspired them to try it. But that amounts to 2.5 million Brit kids. And that's a pretty good figure for a phenomenon roughly three years old.
More than half of the 12 million UK children between the ages of 3 and 18 play musical games, the report found. Andrew Missingham, a music industry expert who carried out the study, said there is a direct line between that kind of gameplay and moving into more serious pursuits, helping to establish some "transferable musical skills, and even the development of performance confidence."
"This research for the first time shows conclusively that young people are being inspired to make their own music by games that first piqued their interest," he said.
As a social game, Rock Band and Guitar Hero and SingStar, where failing on notes is in a low-pressure, among-friends environment, I can see how it would help break down fear of failure or stage fright later on.
But left unsaid is how committed to musical pursuits these kids remain. There should be a name for the syndrome of playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band, getting all fired up and buying a real instrument, then realizing, no, in fact, it's much more complicated than pressing fret buttons or hitting drumpads.
Even so, music, or any kind of art, is a component of the well-rounded life many parents encourage their children to seek. (Mine paid for three years of piano lessons, and all I remember is Old McDonald on the black keys.) So any assistance getting them to at least try is a good thing.
Computer Games Inspire Children to Learn Musical Instruments [Telegraph, via Go Nintendo]