I had an interesting experience the other day. With all the busy-ness in my life, it’s been several months since I’ve been able to play guitar. Part of me was really dreading picking it up again, knowing that the amount of no practicing I’d been doing was bound to hurt me. I’d been playing almost every day, and then I’d stopped for weeks and weeks. Because I didn’t want to face the fact that I’d gotten worse, I was even less motivated to start playing again. Stupid, but there you have it. Having Rocksmith would make it even easier to tell that I’d gotten worse. It keeps track of your “score” for each individual song. I would be forced to see the fruits of my laziness in a very quantifiable way.
Still, eventually I just really wanted to pick up a guitar and get playing again. So I braved the scorn of my video game, picked up my bass, and started up Rocksmith. I played my first song, going with something easy after all this time: Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out. I played through the song, having a blast, and then waited for the verdict. When it came, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I’d improved my score significantly.
I tried a harder song. And then another. And another. I switched over to electric guitar and did the same thing. Almost every time, I got the same result: I beat my previous score. I wasn’t even that rusty. There were some tricky spots that I’d practiced a lot before I stopped playing, and those were troublesome again, but as far as the basics of playing went? Somehow by doing nothing for a few months, I’d become a better guitar and bass player.
I wonder if there’s been some sort of scientific study on this. Something that shows that the brain sometimes needs time to process new skills to improve at them? I have no idea. All I know is that I don’t need to hang my head in shame in front of my video game, and that feels great.
And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if anyone’s looking for a fantastic way to learn to play the electric bass or guitar, they should look no further than Rocksmith. I love love love that game, both as a game and a teaching tool. Can’t give it high enough marks.