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Hi everyone - Is anyone else out there reading Gary Marcus' new book Guitar Zero? It is about learning an instrument as an adult, and what the science of learning teaches us about adult learners. I am finding it very interesting and useful so far.

6 Responses
Posted: February 7, 2012
Last Comment: February 11, 2012

Posted: February 11, 2012
Thank you, Dick, for the book recommendation. It looks practical: I can definitely use advice to improve my own practice. Will have to look for it at the library.

Posted: February 10, 2012
The connection between scientific thought and playing music is interesting.  Perhaps playing music focuses the mind, and the focus is then transferred to the subject at hand.

I just finished chapter 2 of Guitar Zero.   There is strong scientific evidence that studying and (extensively) practicing a musical instrument as a youngster influences the neurological growth of the brain.  Some assume that the same effect can happen in an adult, in that the brain will "re-wire" itself as the adult masters an instrument. However, no significant studies have been done on adults (the author claims that adult instrument learners are difficult to come by), so the effect is not known for sure.

I'm going to assume that the brain will re-wire itself.  Just believing that it will happen will pre-dispose a positive outcome with my instrument.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: February 8, 2012
I'll start a "good reads" page in Resources, and post the book. Thanks for sharing. I wasn't aware of the book.

Posted: February 8, 2012

Einstein loved playing classical violin and could not imagine his life without it.  He would frequently bring together like minded scientists to both discuss scientific theories but also to play classical music.  When he had come upon a problem with a theory or a deadend he would turn to his violin.  Einstein did this his entire life as did his contemporaries.  It has been proven the development of the scientific mind goes hand in hand with playing classical music.


Posted: February 8, 2012
For starters, I really appreciate his message that even an older beginner can become proficient at an instrument.  It helps me put away the cultural bias that an older beginner cannot do this. 

Once I assume that I can master the violin, it only remains to figure out how to go about it.  Of course, this is not an easy task, but at least it is not dragged down by doubts of failure.  Assuming that I will succeed sets the platform for doing so.

Posted: February 7, 2012
Thanks for the heads up. I love reading this kind of book.