Customer Review

121 of 126 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning to Become a Muscian, January 21, 2012
This review is from: Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning (Hardcover)
This is an interesting book. It's easy to read and tells a fairly compelling story about a 40 year old professor who always wanted to be a musician finally taking the plunge. This book is a story about human learning told through the perspective of music. The specifics are music and guitar, but that's really not what the book is about.

The Amazon description includes this sentence: "Guitar Zero stands the science of music on its head, debunking the popular theory of an innate musical instinct and many other commonly held fallacies."

Not so. The author specifically states he believes in innate musical talent and he counts himself as one is who lacking even normal levels. Part of what makes the book interesting his his struggle against this lack and ultimately the degree of progress he makes despite this obstacle.

I think this book will be of interest to those who are musically inclined but please be aware that this is most certainly not in any respect a how-to book. This book does not teach you how to play the guitar or any other musical instrument. Instead it is a rather inspiring story of someone who followed his heart fairly late in life and what he learned in the process.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 14, 2012 9:29:12 AM PST
Good review; however I do not think that forty years old is "fairly late in life". At least, I hope that this is not the case.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2012 4:42:19 AM PST
Book Fanatic says:
Well in the big scheme of things no, but in learning to play a musical instrument probably yes. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2012 1:59:09 PM PST
Oh, I hope it's not too late ... I just turned forty and picked up a guitar last October for the first time ... keep your fingers crossed for me (I can't, because it makes practising so much harder)! ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2012 1:02:21 PM PDT
While there is life there is only the chance in this moment to learn something. Add that up day by day and you WILL improve. Just don't expect to necessarily become Jimmy Hendrix. Do expect to enjoy your journey. It does add up, trust me. I have taught students for 40 years. If you believe you can't, you can't. Believe!
Warmly,
Your teacher friend Norma

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2012 2:11:12 PM PDT
I have to agree with teacher friend Norma. I can't identify at all with the "adolescents" who commented about age 40. Grow up people. I'm 78 and teaching myself to play the guitar. The difference between learning something unfamiliar and indeed difficult at age 78 compared to learning as a real adolescent is that the youngster expects to make mistakes and just accepts that it happens and moves on. Us golden age seniors are not as self forgiving or accepting of the idea that we can't meet our adult expectations of what we should be able to do and accomplish. After all, we were generally successful in life to have arrived where we are now. So now we seem to view is this endeavor as less than successful than we are accustomed to being.

Posted on Jun 12, 2012 1:57:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2012 1:57:56 PM PDT
Aaron Wolf says:
You're mistaken in your criticism of the Amazon description. The idea of a music instinct is that there is a specifically-musical part of our makeup, a music instinct. Marcus debunks that by clearly discussing how music is really built on other non-musical instincts. The talent for music that he supports as existing is really various combinations of talents that help with music, not necessarily strictly a music-only talent. Although none of this is absolutely certain, of course. The point is that Marcus says: there ARE talents, not everyone has the same potential for everything; but there is no MUSIC instinct, music is not an evolutionary adaptation. Agree or not, that's what Marcus says, and that's consistent with the Amazon description.

Having said that, the Amazon description is stupid. This book isn't all about debunking.

If anyone's interested, my full review of this book is at my website
blog.wolftune.com/2012/06/book-review-guitar-zero-by-gary-marcus.html

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 8:03:59 PM PDT
Karen Chung says:
Thanks Signmund - I enjoyed reading your insights!
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