- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; 38095th edition (December 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143122789
- ISBN-13: 978-0143122784
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 154 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Guitar Zero: The Science of Becoming Musical at Any Age Paperback – December 24, 2012
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"Jimi Hendrix meets Oliver Sacks in this great new science book." — VeryShortList.com
"Guitar Zero is a refreshing alternation between the nitty-gritty details of learning rock-guitar licks and Mr. Marcus's survey of the relevant scientific literature on learning and the brain . . . makes some delightful counterintuitive fine points. . . . For those who look forward, in 'retirement,' to honoring the lifelong yearnings they have neglected, Guitar Zero is good news."— Norman Doidge, The Wall Street Journal
"[Guitar Zero is] the sort of book where Steven Pinker (Dr. Marcus's mentor and collaborator) mixes with K. Anders Ericsson (the psychologist most associated with the '10,000 hours' theory of expertise) and Tom Morello (the lead guitarist from Rage Against the Machine)."— The New York Times
“This book in the end is about more than a desire to shred like Eddie Van Halen. Marcus examines how our brains are affected by creativity—learning a musical instrument, for instance, or a new language—and how these experiences remain open to all of us, no matter our age."— Los Angeles Times
“An entertaining and enlightening memoir, filled with insight about music, learning, and the human mind, by Gary Marcus, one of the deepest thinkers in cognitive science.”
— Steven Pinker, bestselling author of The Better Angels of Our Nature
About the Author
Gary Marcus, described by the New York Times as “one of the country’s best known cognitive psychologists,” directs the Center for Language and Music at New York University, where he studies language, music, cognitive development, and evolution. His previous book, Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice pick.
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I dug deeper into the reviews to see that people expected something different. I decided to give it a shot anyway. And, after purchasing and reading the book, the description seem to match the product.
The story is arched around Dr. Marcus's journey to learn guitar at an advanced age, 38. He discusses the benefit as well as the disadvantages of music learning later in life and how it effected his quest to learn to play guitar.
I enjoyed the studies and theories that were shared. I will be looking for more books like this that mix psychology, learning methods, and music. Well done.
So, I stumbled on this book about five years later and the author went through the same type of experience but he questioned deeper and from a lot of other angles. Not only was he going to give it a go at learning guitar but he was going to study the how and why if it was really possible to teach an old dog new tricks. (I'd read glad wells outliers, so was familiar with the 10,000 hour concept and that whole line of questioning, but this guy was asking about it for older folks and how much was possible once you weren't a kid anymore) I thought it would be an interesting read.
So, the author starts on this journey and takes you along for the ride. He talks about going to guitar camp, interviewing musicians, his learning style and how he progresses, what works and what doesn't…. He ends up in a band at camp with kids and they go after some basic song writing and performance goals and what that dynamic is like… I found the book really interesting because I'd been through some of what he'd experienced and also in trying to answer the questions of how to get better at something, which is something anyone can apply to anything they dare to learn.
One area Marcus delves into is an area that I never thought about; the part of our brain that we use when playing music, and the fact that there really is no "musical" part of the brain. It's not something we need to know to be a good guitar player, but it's interesting.