Music games: potential application and considerations for rhythmic training
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Rhythmic skills are natural and widespread in the general population. The majority can track the beat of music and move along with it. These abilities are meaningful from a cognitive standpoint given their tight links with prominent motor and cognitive functions such as language and memory. When rhythmic skills are challenged by brain damage or neurodevelopmental disorders, remediation strategies based on rhythm can be considered. For example, rhythmic training can be used to improve motor performance (e.g., gait) as well as cognitive and language skills. Here, we review the games readily available in the market and assess whether they are well-suited for rhythmic training. Games that train rhythm skills may serve as useful tools for retraining motor and cognitive functions in patients with motor or neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, dyslexia, or ADHD). Our criteria were the peripheral used to capture and record the response, the type of response, and the output measure. None of the existing games provides sufficient temporal precision in stimulus presentation and/or data acquisition. In addition, games do not train selectively rhythmic skills. Hence, the available music games, in their present form, are not satisfying for training rhythmic skills. Yet, some features such as the device used, the interface or the game scenario provide good indications for devising efficient training protocols. Guidelines are provided for devising serious music games targeting rhythmic training in the future.