Tips to Improving Your Rhythm in Rock Band & Other Music Video Games

How to Become a Maestro of Rhythm in Music Games

Along with the cultural phenomenon that music and rhythm games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have kick-started these past few years comes the desire of the players of these games to become a true musician. There is no doubt that part of the reason these titles are successful in the first place is due to the legions of hungry youth (and older people, as well) devouring the slight taste of rock-star lifestyle such games provide. Well, the truth is that you actually can learn a thing or two from both Guitar Hero and Rock Band, albeit probably not enough to get onstage at Madison Square Garden and start rocking a crowd of 20,000 screaming fans.

Music Video Games Noobs

If you’re new to music games, or simply video games in general, you likely won’t be able to string more than a few notes together when you pick up the Guitar Hero controller. Similarly, it will be difficult to pound a beat out on Rock Band’s electronic drum set. The key concept you need to learn and vehemently remember is a notion universal to both these video games and real-life music: rhythm.

What Do Music Video Games Do For You defines rhythm as “the pattern of regular or irregular pulses caused in music by the occurrence of strong and weak melodic and harmonic beats.” In layman’s terms, that means rhythm is the beat pattern you keep along with the varying melodies and progressions of the music.

Rock It Up!

Now you’re probably asking “how can Guitar Hero help me master such a complex, tricky theory?” The answer is simple. By poring over the notes in Guitar Hero and Rock Band and matching the on-screen colored objects with strums of the plastic guitar or taps of your drumsticks, you begin to get a sense of true rhythm. The best way to do this (and to improve on it as well) is to enter one of the game’s practice modes on expert difficulty and play a song over and over until you can successfully match the notes. It may seem impossibly hard at first – and it is – but the trick is, just like in “real” music, practice, practice and more practice.

Silly Idea? Not Really.

It may seem like a silly idea to you to spend such time on a video game that will ostensibly get you nowhere, but the truth is that you are stimulating the musical part of your brain. After polishing your Guitar Hero or Rock Band skills to their highest level, you will find that you are much more keen to the rhythm and other details of music when you’re just listening to it (not to mention vastly improved hand-eye coordination).

Mastering Rock Band – The Drums Have It

In fact, mastering Rock Band’s drum set will give you a legitimate heads-up on the road to learning on a real drum kit. Since the drums are a rhythm-based instrument, and no melody is involved, you get a pretty decent idea of what is involved in rock-star drumming when you blast through Rock Band on expert mode.


Hopefully this article has inspired you not only to push the limits of your virtual self and band members, but also to continue with the skill-set you’ve only started to learn and pick up a real instrument. Only then can you continue exploring the avenues of music in a realm not bound by strict, brightly colored guidelines. Not only is it endlessly rewarding, but you’ll be sure to impress a whole bunch of people. You can quote me on that.