Rhythm Heaven For Nintendo DSI recently finished a review of the new Rhythm Heaven video game for the Nintendo DS portable game system.  I was looking at it as a part of my research for an article on using portable devices in the music classroom (iPhones, Nintendo DS, etc).  What I expected to find was another Guitar Hero type game but what I was pleased to discover instead was that Rhythm Heaven is a game that I don't think I would mind letting my students play as a reward or as a put away activity.

In essence, Rhythm Heaven is a call and response rhythm game.  Although there are over fifty different mini games in the Rhythm Heaven package, the majority of them seem to focus on listening to a rhythm then responding to that rhythm to achieve various goals.  This may sound rather bland and uneducational, but in truth this little game really does pack in a lot of solid rhythmic practice in a large variety of ways.  Depending on the game being played, students are expected to match rhythms with a very high degree of accuracy.  All subdivisions of the beat are used in the mini-games, from double whole notes down to sixteenth notes, and in increasingly complex patterns.  While these note durations are never mentioned by name, when you play the game you can see and hear the rhythms, and must really be on your game in order to flick the stylus at exactly the right part of the beat.

While this game is not something I would recommend as a normal part of class, I do believe that it would make a great reward for students that need a little extra encouragement or for those that are constantly bringing their own DS to school.  With over fifty different games to play Rhythm Heaven has several different games that could be used for reinforcing almost any musical rhythm including off-beats, dotted eighth-sixteenth notes, and many more.

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