MIDI files have been floating around the Internet for over 20 years. We've all heard them while surfing at one time or another, even if we didn't realize it. Many musicians, pro and amateur , use MIDI files as backing tracks . Video games oftentimes use MIDI technology to render music. But the educational aspect of a MIDI file is often overlooked.
Studies have shown that when learning to play an instrument (such as guitar or piano) you can get faster results by playing along with accompaniment. It,s certainly more fun than playing alone - and fun is a factor when learning to play. However, the educational factor goes beyond fun alone.
Playing with others helps develop good timing. It helps with ear training improvement as you listen to the parts someone else is playing. It helps develop a musical discipline that is lacking when you play alone. But what if no one else is around? Well, thanks to MIDI files, you are never alone. You can have a full-blown band at your disposal at any time!
You don't need any special equipment to play MIDI files - all computers are capable of playing them. By doing a Google search, you can find thousands of MIDI files. The downside is that the general quality of many freely available Midis aren't that good, but that is not the point. When I was learning to play guitar, I got together with a few friends and we started a garage band. Our average age was about 13 years old. We weren't very good at first, but we got better and five years later turned professional. The experience over the years was like a musical training camp.
After you find your MIDI files, start playing along with them. Trying to learn the parts is great, but so is improvising along with the song (jamming). Because MIDI files are as accurate as a metronome you will be developing your sense of timing. By repetition you'll be improving your own chops.
Remember, this is just a start. At some point you'll want to play with real people.
Join the school band or look into other group playing programs. Get out there are jam with others whenever you have a chance, no matter how bad it sounds. The Beatles weren't great when they first started, but we've all got to start somewhere. And who knows, someday you might end up being a real guitar hero!