- Communism works great -- in theory.
- Religion is the cause of every major war in human history.
- Evolution is a theory, not a fact.
Instead of playing Guitar Hero/Rock Band, you should learn to play a real instrument.
This more often expressed as a question: "Why don't you learn to play a real instrument?"
Well, why don't we learn to play real instruments? Because playing real instruments is hard. I know. I played the guitar daily for about a three-year period. In that time, I mastered 10 chords or so. You could say I had a repertoire of about a dozen songs, but only if you were being charitable toward me, and uncharitable toward the songs. This was something I put hundreds of hours of my life into, and I never progressed past the "woeful beginner" stage. It's no wonder -- in Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell cites research suggesting that approximately 10,000 hours of practice are necessary to master anything.
That's just one musician! It's even harder to get a whole band together. You need at least three people for a band, preferably four -- even, in the case of the E Street Band, several hundred. We're looking at 30,000 man-hours, minimum, just to get enough musicians together to start a decent band. But it's not enough to find people who are proficient at their instruments. They have to share a musical vision, and have the time and commitment necessary to write songs, practice, play gigs, and so on. When you look at it that way, it's a wonder there are any bands around at all, never mind good ones.
Guitar Hero and Rock Band are hard, too, but much less so, and with a much lower barrier of entry. Almost anyone can instantly get the hang of easy difficulty, and start playing whole songs right away. Even medium difficulty is within the grasp of many first-time players. It takes a while to get good enough to handle expert difficulty, but certainly not 10,000 hours.* Here's the real difference: you don't have to be an expert to play the songs and enjoy the games. If you have four people and the necessary equipment, you can tackle any song in the Rock Band library, regardless of each participant's level of ability. It doesn't really matter whether you're good at it or not. That isn't the case with real instruments, even if you're just noodling around at home.
I suspect that's not satisfying to the critics, and I'll admit that it's not satisfying to me. The reason why that's so is because the premise -- that playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band is a substitute for playing real instruments -- is false. Tomorrow, I'll explain why.
*It may very well take 10,000 hours to be able to play everything flawlessly on expert difficulty. God knows I can't do it.