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Nintendo's Wii Music Strikes a Chord with Music Educators

2009-01-13

Nintendo's new Wii Music game is spreading from the family room to the classroom, thanks to newly formed collaborations with select schools and educators. To help inspire students and promote an active appreciation for music, Nintendo is working with teachers to incorporate Wii consoles and Wii Music software into their lesson plans to offer teachers a unique tool for creativity and improvisation.

Nintendo's collaborators in this effort include MENC: The National Association for Music Education, which is recognized as the world's largest arts education organization and as a teaching resource for all levels from preschool to graduate school. MENC will help teachers in 51 cities across the nation integrate Wii Music into their curricula, making use of the game's 60-plus instruments and fun array of tutorial exercises in rhythm, tempo 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."

The Wii console's motion-sensing controls allow Wii Music users at any experience level to step up and jam, whether playing solo or as part of a group. Using the wireless Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers, players make simple, intuitive movements to strum a guitar, play a trumpet or bang a drum.

"At any grade level, it's essential to provide students with the tools and encouragement they need to be creative," said John J. Mahlmann, executive director of MENC. "We look forward to collaborating with Nintendo to drive awareness and advocacy for music education through Wii Music."

Some teachers already have begun to incorporate Wii Music into their lesson plans.

"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 collaborating and partner organizations currently include San Francisco's Blue Bear School of Music and New York's Opus 118 Harlem School of Music. Teachers in these programs will use Wii Music to build students' familiarity with technology while bolstering their ability to create and improvise. Experts in the field of music say getting kids interested in music at an early age can help build a lifelong appreciation.

"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."

Remember that Wii features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other Wii features, visit Wii.com. For more information about Wii Music, visit www.WiiMusic.com.

For more information about Nintendo, visit www.nintendo.com.

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