Guitar Insight

Professional and Amateur Guitar Players Inspirations and Aspirations

Interesting new book on adults learning guitar:An NYU professor of psychology describes how he was able to learn to play the guitar in midlife in spite of a limited musical aptitude, revealing what he learned about the brain's capacity for musical proficiency at any time of life and how his findings challenge commonly accepted beliefs about musical talent and training.

 Guitar Zero. By Gary Marcus Check it out!!

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Comment by Colin Post on March 29, 2012 at 9:36pm

Hey. Read the book. Took me two days over March break. It wasn't so much that I could not put it down, rather I just was able to connect with the entire premise of the book. As a fifty something guy that picked up the guitar for the first time just over two years ago, I had the idea of learning something completely new and alien to my background. I had read in any number of journals etc that keeping your brain learning contributes enormously to keeping things like Alzheimer's at bay. Not only that, but I always had a desire to learn the guitar. I have no musical background at all, so this is all very new to me. Gary Marcus' premise that you do not need to have "talent" in order to be a musician, was a concept that I wanted to explore. The idea of being able to accomplish whatever you have in mind can be realized through consistent effort. What is the adage? Mastery is achieved through 10,000 hours of work. I cannot disagree with this statement. As a skilled trades person, I spent four years practicing my trade as an apprentice and another eight as a journeyman. After the total 12 years, I was pretty good at my trade. Now as a teacher, practicing for eleven years, I am becoming pretty good at that too. Marcus uses himself as an experiment in the science of learning. He began at an age where most of us have stopped "actively" learning. We are more concerned about earning a living and remaining employed. As I have already said, I am an F.N.G. when it comes to music. I look forward to my weekly lessons as a real treat. I have also just been invited to jam with a bunch of guys (one of whom earned his living playing a guitar back in the U.K.) and it is the most fun that I have had in a long time. I am not a brilliant talent with the guitar (just ask Steve!) but I can play for fun with others, which was, and remains my own goal. When guys like Pat Metheny gives up his very rare personal time to go and talk to Gary Marcus, you gotta know that whatever he (Marcus) has to say, it is probably worth listening to. I read the book and thought that it was great. Soon as I finished it I loaned it to Steve. Steve too, ripped right through it. He told me today that he thought it was an excellent read. If you are a seasoned pro, a newbie, 13 years old or 73 or anywhere on those spectra, are a student or a teacher, Gary Marcus has some very interesting insights (pun not intended) into the art / science / joy of playing a guitar. Read this book, you won't regret it.


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