Nintendo is teaming with The National Association for Music Education to get the Wii and Wii Music into schools, the two announced today.
The collaboration will have music teachers in 51 cities using Wii Music to help children with rhythm, temp and song structure.
"The goal of Wii Music is to inspire people of all ages to enjoy music," said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. "By partnering with educators and bringing Wii Music into their classrooms, we hope to give students a memorable, hands-on experience that helps them discover their own creative voice."
Instead of trying to use Wii music to actually teach musical concepts, the main thrust appears to be getting children more interested in music. Something that I think Rock Band and Guitar Hero could also lend a hand in. Just ask my son and the thousands like him who have taken up real guitar lessons because of their game play.
But this is a great first step.
"Wii Music has brought a renewed excitement to music class for students from first grade to fifth, myself and even some of the classroom teachers," said Helen A. Krofchick, a music teacher at Doby's Mill Elementary School in Lugoff, S.C. "I love how many music standards can be covered in such a short time. Students also have to use language skills, spatial awareness and hand-eye coordination. We have a school very supportive of the arts and Wii Music has empowered our program even more. Any system that is educational and can add a love of music to children's lives should be in every classroom."
Other organisation working with Nintendo on this program include San Francisco's Blue Bear School of Music and New York's Opus 118 Harlem School of Music.
"The joy of playing music is something that should be experienced by everyone, regardless of age, talent-level or experience," said Joe Lamond, President & CEO of NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants. "Research shows that more than 82 percent of people who don't currently play a musical instrument wish they did. Wii Music can help address this by providing a positive introduction for millions of people who might not otherwise be inclined to try."
This sounds like Nintendo has taken up the idea of getting Wii into schools to heart. Nintendo told me that they didn provide a "limited amount" of consoles to help get the program off the ground, though it doesn't sound like they plan on donating to schools across the country.
They did also work with The National Association for Music Education to create a master lesson plan.