Guitar Zero

Guitar Zero

The Science of Becoming Musical at Any Age

Format
Ebook
Price
$12.99
 
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101552285
  • 288 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult

Overview

On the eve of his 40th birthday, Gary Marcus, a renowned scientist with no discernible musical talent, learns to play the guitar and investigates how anyone—of any age —can become musical. Do you have to be born musical to become musical? Do you have to start at the age of six?

Using the tools of his day job as a cognitive psychologist, Gary Marcus becomes his own guinea pig as he takes up the guitar. In a powerful and incisive look at how both children and adults become musical, Guitar Zero traces Marcus’s journey, what he learned, and how anyone else can learn, too. A groundbreaking peek into the origins of music in the human brain, this musical journey is also an empowering tale of the mind’s enduring plasticity.

Marcus investigates the most effective ways to train body and brain to learn to play an instrument, in a quest that takes him from Suzuki classes to guitar gods. 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 to learn a new skill.

Guitar Zero debunks the popular theory of an innate musical instinct while simultaneously challenging the idea that talent is only a myth. While standing the science of music on its head, Marcus 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 all those who have ever set out to play an instrument—or wish 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.

Praise

"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
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