On the eve of his fortieth birthday, a professor of no discernible musical talent learns to play the guitar and investigates how anyone of any age might master a new skill.
Just about every human being knows how to listen to music, but what does it take to make music? Is musicality something we are born with? Or a skill that anyone can develop at any time? If you don't start piano at the age of six, is there any hope? Is skill learning best left to children or can anyone reinvent him-or herself at any time?
On the eve of his fortieth birthday, Gary Marcus, an internationally renowned scientist with no discernible musical talent, becomes his own guinea pig to look at how human beings become musical- and how anyone of any age can master something new. Guitar Zero traces his journey, what he learned, and how you can learn, too. In addition to being a groundbreaking look at the origins and allure of music, Marcus's journey is also an empowering tale of the mind's plasticity.
In a quest that takes him from Suzuki classes to guitar gods, Marcus investigates the most effective ways to train your brain and body to learn to play an instrument. How can you make your practice more deliberate and effective? How can you find the best music teacher for you or your child? Does talent really exist? Or is hard work all you need?
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. At the same time, it raises new questions about the science of human pleasure and brings new insight into humankind's most basic question: what counts as a life well lived? Does one have to become the next Jimi Hendrix to make a passionate pursuit worthwhile? Or can the journey itself bring the brain lasting satisfaction?
For those who have ever set out to learn a musical instrument-or wishes that they could- Guitar Zero is an inspiring and fascinating look at music, learning, and the pursuit of a well-lived life.
©2012 Gary Marcus (P)2012 Penguin
Vegan, skeptic, promoter of animal rights.
I'm basically a musical ignoramus, but I enjoyed listening to this book. Gary Marcus is an engaging writer, but I REALLY would have liked to hear music interspersed with the writing (so as to illustrate the points Marcus was trying to make, or to give examples of songs written by the musicians he was mentioning in the text). Still, that's asking a lot from an audio edition.
The book covered a wide range of topics within music, so the coverage was necessarily superficial at times. But I'm now reading another, more-detailed book about music, so Marcus inspired me to read more.
A note about the narrator: He isn't among the better readers I've encountered in audio books. His pronunciation and diction could be be better.
This book might be enjoyed more by a person seeking general information about learning.
The author's personal experiences about seeking to learn music were entertaining. But the book never really gets off the ground. It simply goes around and around about his seeking learning without telling you how to improve your guitar playing.
I feel like I wasted my credit. I listen to detective mysteries or science fiction or a multitude of other choices for entertainment. What I wanted here was some tips on how to more effectively learn the guitar. This book provided neither to my satisfaction.
In a similar fashion to, Joshua Foer's Moonwalking With Einstein, I enjoyed the personal narrative this book goes through as the author discovers 'how to' learn to play the guitar.
Not being a muscian, I found it harder to relate to the thread of the book at some points, then my guitar playing friends who also enjoyed (and related) to the book.
I found this book more about the "journey of learning", with very little practical and transferable "how to learn" lessons.
Book is a mix of science and the author's personal experience. The science is unsurprising. Description of the author's personal experiences is vague and self-indulgent. And there is absolutely nothing that would help with learning the guitar.
If you want to learn about the human mind, learning, and the role of practice, listen to _Moonwalking with Einstein_. If you want to learn the guitar, buy a guitar book and maybe some lessons. Either way, skip this book.
The book was enjoyable but lacked in substance. I kept waiting for it to start and come to some concrete conclusions and pointers but it never did really.
one of the best books about how we learn to make music. great descriptions on recent research and lets the air out of much "conventional wisdom" of what "talent" is and whether music is innate or learned
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the intersection of neuroscience and music.
The author does a good job of weaving in interesting summaries of the current state of the science of things like language acquisition and musical talent vs. practice.
The author is a good narrator, which is not always the case.
This book delivers a number of ah-ha moments, such as debunking the myth of 10,000 hours.
This audio book not terribly long, and some will probably complain that it's not technical enough, but it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable tour through the science of musicality. The author is good humored, and tells entertaining stories about his visit to music camp (for kids because he is such a lousy guitarist). If you've ever wondered whether music is somehow innate in humans, this book does a good job of walking you through the answers from a neuroscientist.
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