Other Sellers on Amazon
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.
Guitar Zero: The Science of Becoming Musical at Any Age Paperback – Illustrated, December 24, 2012
Enhance your purchase
For anyone who has ever set out to play a musical instrument—or wished that they could—Guitar Zero is an inspiring and fascinating look at the pursuit of music, the mechanics of the mind, and the surprising rewards that come from following one’s dreams. Gary Marcus, whom Steven Pinker describes as “one of the deepest thinkers in cognitive science,” debunks the popular theory that there is an innate musical instinct while challenging the idea that talent is only a myth. From deliberate and efficient practicing techniques to finding the right music teacher, Marcus translates his own experience—as well as reflections from world-renowned musicians—into practical advice for anyone hoping to become musical or learn any new skill.
Inspire a love of reading with Amazon Book Box for Kids
Discover delightful children's books with Amazon Book Box, a subscription that delivers new books every 1, 2, or 3 months — new Amazon Book Box Prime customers receive 15% off your first box. Learn more.
Frequently bought together
"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
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Illustrated edition (December 24, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0143122789
- ISBN-13 : 978-0143122784
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #586,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
If you enjoy the science behind learning an instrument, then you may enjoy this book
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.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
Mainly the book discusses most of the big psychological/philosophical questions concerning music and skilled playing and here the author is sensible, measured, balanced, well informed, and (usually) one feels he must be right in his general points.
The main practical advice a reader might take out of this is that, whatever your initial difficulties and your age, if you stick at it, put in the hours, and focus on improving your skills and removing your weaknesses, you will make progress and eventually be able to play music. Adults actually have some advantages over children because adults learn more quickly, but we just have to be more patient and more willing to focus on details for as long as it takes.
What would have made this a five star book for me would have been a bit more detail on what effective practice of music is like (with perhaps less on the never ending nature-nurture debate), and perhaps more on the computational problem your brain has to solve when learning music. He does in fact refer to this in one of the later chapters, but it would have been nice to develop it a bit more, and perhaps show some diagrams and perhaps some basic statistics about the number of different units of knowledge that perhaps might need to be acquired. He could perhaps have discussed the different challenges of TAB notation against old fashioned, general purpose musical notation, and against other options too. Or how about some of the theories of how our brains encode music?
He notes the difficulties caused by having poorly chosen names for the twelve pitches in each octave, but he doesn't really follow that line of enquiry any further, or suggest remedies. That's a pity because music is done the way it is for historical reasons and the odd names are just the start of the confusing muddle that musicians have to grapple with. There's an opportunity to modernise and save a lot of people a lot of confusion and wasted time.
So, in summary, I would have given five stars for more detail of the sort that would interest someone who wants to understand and play music, and perhaps a bit less of the sensible, but not very specific discussion of general questions.
Also, I bought this as a Kindle book and the referencing is far from easy. There are no hyperlinks to references in the text and no hyperlinks to original sources in the notes, even when those sources are given with URLs. This is annoying. I really like to be able to click through to a note, then click on to an original source on the web. It saves a lot of time and encourages me to check the author's interpretations of evidence, and generally get into the book more.
Still an interesting read. And with a guitar, headphones, and a backing track the stage is mine.