Gamification

So I wrote a few days ago about learning to play the guitar, about how I was fulfilling a teenage dream, blah, blah, blah.

What I neglected to mentionw as that I’ve had the guitar for over a year, and you know what I can play on it? The first 60 seconds of Ode to Joy. That’s it. Yippee skippee.

It’s not that I don’t love the instrument, or no longer want to play it (man, I love double negatives, don’t you?). I do love it, and want to learn to coax loveliness from it. And it’s not entirely because I’m lazy as hell.

It’s just practising at home on my own bores the hell out of me. I tried using videos, but never got past the first 2 lessons of the Learn & Master series. I’ve watched YouTube videos, borrowed Guitar For Dummies from the library, got copies of music from the music teachers at school.

Yeah, no. Not so much.

I also downloaded a bunch of apps for my iPad. Tuner apps, chord finder apps, apps with videos, apps with notes and apps with tablature, free apps and apps I paid for. I read app reviews when I should have been practicing.

It’s a funny thing about paid apps and my sense of perceived value. I have no problem dropping a ten spot for a crappy lunch or a fiver for coffee too many times during the week, but I hem and haw over a $10 app like a miser. I dithered for weeks before buying the PhotoShop Touch app for a whole $10, an app which gives me much of the desktop version does for a small fraction of the price. Which is why I only bought the $20 Rock Prodigy app last weekend, even though I first read about it months ago.

I have practised more in the last six days than I have in the last six months. I’m loving it; it’s set up a bit like Rock Band, and I earn points for every note I hit correctly. There are bonus points for streaks and as in Rock Band, the bonuses drop to zero if I flub a note. I do love seeing my score improve as a measurement of my improved skills.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the gamification of learning. As a non-gamer, I couldn’t quite get behind it.

I can now. And now it’s time to go practice, for the second time today. Really want to break the 100,000 point mark on Lesson Two.

1 Comment

  1. OH that is very cool. And it makes me laugh that your racking up achievements and levels whilst actually making sweet music. We’ll have you gaming in no time!

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