Rolling Stones star slams Rock Band

Two lynchpins of UK rock and roll history have claimed that Rock Band and Guitar Hero stop kids being dedicated to learning a real instrument.

Former Rolling Stones guitarist Bill Wyman and Pink Floyd star Nick Mason expressed their concern while recording a charity Beatles song for Children in Need – just one day before The Beatles: Rock Band hits retail.

Wyman told the BBC: "It encourages kids not to learn, that’s the trouble.

"It makes less and less people dedicated to really get down and learn an instrument. I think is a pity so I’m not really keen on that kind of stuff."

Pink Floyd star Mason described music games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero as "interesting new developments".

But he added: "It irritates me having watched my kids do it – if they spent as much time practising the guitar as learning how to press the buttons they’d be damn good by now."

However, he added that Pink Floyd had not ruled out working on a Rock Band or Guitar Hero-style game in the future.

"I think we’d consider it," he said. I think everyone’s looking at new ways of selling the music because the business of selling records has almost disappeared.

"I’m of the old guard who are really sad about that, because I always liked the concept of the album – rather than just cherry-picking tracks – and also the business of the art work that went with it."

Alex Rigopulos, co-founder of Rock Band developer Harmonix, refuted the musicians’ claims.

"Most people try to learn an instrument at some point in their lives, and almost all of them quit after a few months or a year or two," he said.

"This, I think, is because the earliest years of learning an instrument are the least gratifying.

"When people play Rock Band, however, they very quickly get a glimpse of the rewards that lie on the other side of the wall.

"We’re constantly hearing from fans who were inspired by Rock Band to start studying a real instrument."

Paul DeGooyer, from Rock Band publishers MTV Games, added: "It is gratifying to be a part of a revival of interest in music education at a time when budgetary challenges are causing many school music programs to be cut."

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