One of the great things about Rock Band 3 is how subversive the keyboard peripheral is. Nearly everyone I know is picking up the game to play it on pro keys, which essentially means you’re playing real music. Not just multicolored gems, but honest to God music. Put those same things on a real piano, and you’d be rocking out like Warren Zevon. I think if you had tried to get me to play piano as a kid, I probably would not have been very enthused about it. I never considered myself good at piano at all, though I could play other musical instruments like various varieties of clarinet. I even learned a bit of real guitar. But piano? There were all of those KEYS!
I think what makes Rock Band’s keys more accessible is that there’s a lot less of them. You could play all of the charts with only one hand if you wanted to. They also have nice color coding on the screen, making it easier to locate them. Still, you can’t really look at the keyboard while playing if you want to follow the game’s on-screen indicators. So you need to learn how to position your hand properly to play anything anyway.
What’s very cool is that the game manages to put real piano lessons into the game that aren’t boring and can be mastered with some practice. With adjustable tempo, metronome, and unlimited retries with no pissy teachers, this might be the best way to get people to learn the proper technique that they resisted from old Mrs. Mellonger all those years ago. By doing the pro keys trainers, I was going from two stars on some songs on medium to five stars, simply by using the proper finger technique. Like my old band teacher said, practice makes better. So when practice is so easy… I think Harmonix really has a coup here.
Like I said yesterday – take THAT, Miracle Piano Teacher for NES!