Game-based learning, or the process of adapting an educational concept into a game-based structure, has been studied by researchers for nearly a century. Over the last several decades, new technologies have allowed digital media to create a multibillion-dollar entertainment industry commonly known as video games. Video games have become a tool for many educators who have the potential to engage students to learn musical concepts and skills.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of digital game-based learning in comparison to other teaching methods for music education and to explore the perspectives of young students regarding video games both in school and in their personal lives. Eighty-two (n = 82) fifth- and sixth-grade students in a northeastern U.S. elementary school completed a study consisting of a pretest/posttest control group design.
Results showed that students who had access to educational video games combined with the assistance of an instructor achieved higher mean scores than students who had access to either video games without instruction or instruction without video games. These findings suggested that educational video games may potentially be used as an effective tool in the music classroom to teach musical concepts and skills.