- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Oneworld Publications (3 Jan. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1851689621
- ISBN-13: 978-1851689620
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 459,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Guitar Zero: The Science Of Learning To Be Musical Paperback – 3 Jan 2013
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“An entertaining account of the frustrations of a wannabe guitar hero and an intriguing enquiry into the science of learning… Compelling.” - New Scientist
“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. For those who look forward, in ‘retirement,’ to honoring the lifelong yearnings they have neglected, Guitar Zero is good news.” - Norman Doidge, Wall Street Journal
“Science and story are woven together with abnormal skill, and fascinating information comes non-stop... With a likeable narrator and beautifully precise writing, this is one of the best science books and best music books you'll read this year.” - The Word
“[Guitar Zero] looks far more deeply into the ways our brains rewire themselves and find ways to compensate for certain gaps or deficits in our abilities. In the process of demonstrating these, Marcus sounds an encouraging note (pun intended) for older readers who have always wanted to do something but have never had time.” - Los Angeles Times
“This enjoyable blend of music appreciation, science and personal exploration commands a new respect for how the brain and body responds to the promise, and shock, of the new.”--Kirkus Reviews
“Gary Marcus, one of the deepest thinkers in cognitive science, has given us an entertaining and enlightening memoir, filled with insight about music, learning, and the human mind.” - Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature
“I enjoyed Guitar Zero immensely. Marcus has not only intensified the process itself, but simplified the definition of one's dedication to it.” - Pat Martino, four-time Grammy nominee
“Marcus is one of the smartest psychologists around, a deep thinker and an eloquent writer, and the story he tells is informed by the best science of perception and learning and evolution; talent and effort, genius and frustration and success. If you have ever dreamt of becoming a musician, you simply must read Guitar Zero.”--Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology at Yale University and author of How Pleasure Works
“A delightfully inspiring, charming, and detailed musical journey that explodes myths of human limitation, while revealing that the fountain of youth very well may be made of wood and played on six strings.” - Richard Barone, musician and author of Frontman: Surviving the Rock Star Myth
“Captivating and filled with insight, Guitar Zero is a look at the challenge of personal reinvention by Gary Marcus, one of our leading psychologists. Whether you are a music lover or not, if you care about reaching your own potential, you should read this book.”--Dr Drew Pinsky, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Southern California and Host of Celebrity Rehab
'Armed with his intellectual firepower and the latest research on music tuition, learning and practice, [Marcus] indeed goes from zero to hero.' THES
'An entertaining account of the frustrations of a wannabe guitar hero and an intriguing inquiry into the science of learning… Compelling.' New Scientist
'An easy read… If this book had a chorus, it would scream: ‘There’s still hope!’' BBC Focus
'Delightful.' Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself
"Delightful"(Norman Doidge - author of The Brain that Changes Itself) See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is at its strongest when Marcus sticks to what he knows best - the science. Marcus explains the various psychological and physical hurdles and mechanisms well, and It's hard to come away without an enhanced understanding of how difficult the task of learning to play music really is. Marcus is also unusually aware of how many unrelated facets there are to practical music-making, many of which have to be mastered simultaneously in the early years, and how many different skills these call on.
Unfortunately, he has relatively little of interest to say about music, the guitar as an instrument, or the process of learning to play as an adult. Marcus talks to a lot of players, but the insights he gleans are the stuff of magazine interviews. Nor is his personal odyssey - from total noob to borderline competent noob, which broadly alternates with the technical chapters - compelling.
The author does perform one very useful service: presenting a sceptical counter-argument to the recently popularised "ten thousand hours" school of thought, which implies that with sufficient practice anybody can become an elite performer. Although he gives every credit to the importance and effect of focussed practice, Marcus's account of how truly elite performers come to be is far more credible than Malcolm Gladwell's more optimistic version in 'Outliers'.
The book's title is a little misleading, and as a result it's hard to see who this book is really aimed at.Read more ›
Unfortunately I'm struggling with it. There seems to be too much explanation of why learning music, and the guitar in particular, is difficult, and not enough about the actual accomplishments of the author. For instance, there is rambling discourse about Western musical annotation or where to find certain tones on a guitar fretboard that are so dry and uninteresting that I don't feel inspired to read on.
I've abandoned the book for a while, in favour of some reading material that flows better. I may well return to it as I'm hoping there could be insights later in the text that could assist with my own learning of the guitar.
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.Read more ›
I felt the book fell well short of what it purports to be - charming but not informative (even to those who know zilch about neuroscience). It's a great "message of hope" to aspiring musicians mature in years but it gives readers little on which to focus their endeavours, other than 'practice as much as you can'.
If you are thinking of buying this book to find out more about the science behind learning, you will probably be very disappointed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting book discusses various aspects of guitar playing and points to other readings to deepen the subject. Read morePublished 15 months ago by K. ZIELINSKI
An interesting read. It along with Dan Lev' s Your Brain On Music book I've learned a lot. Ultimately it keeps us mature types positive in our endeavours to carry on learning this... Read morePublished on 21 Oct. 2014 by David R
Very nice and clever writing.. I am reading other books of this writer. Nice to read and very informative without tiring the reader!Published on 6 Oct. 2014 by Panagiotis Mantas
I fantastic book.
I really like the depth of the book and the way it is written.
I would really like to recommend it to everyone.
Just started to read it but think I will enjoy the book. Its written form the basis of a scientist who has taken up guitar and his experience of trying to master the instrument! Read morePublished on 27 July 2013 by D
This was quite a disappointment. Instead of the narrative I was expecting -- a renowned brain scientist picks up the guitar at a late age and uses the latest scientific thinking to... Read morePublished on 2 July 2013 by Niall E. Shakeshaft
This seemed on the face of it a must have read for the mature guitar novice.I bought the Kindle version and was pleased with the speed of the down load.Well done Amazon. Read morePublished on 16 May 2013 by Terry Swain
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