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Topic: Book Recommendation
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Jan 29, 2012 11:29AM)
Fascinating (to me) book by Gary Marcus: "Guitar Zero." it's a chronicle of his odyssey to learn guitar around age 40. What makes it particularly interesting is that he's a Ph.D and professor of psychology at NYU, with an emphasis on cognitive development, and he focuses not entirely (or even mostly) on his efforts, but on how we learn, and what the obstacles are to learning as an adult, the overlap of language and music, and how it all relates to his quest. Really interesting and well-written.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jan 29, 2012 01:41PM)
Sounds interesting. Thanks for the heads up.
Message: Posted by: Woland (Jan 29, 2012 04:06PM)
How did he do?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 29, 2012 04:56PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-29 17:06, Woland wrote:
How did he do?
[/quote]

http://garymarcus.com/books/guitarzero.html

with link the articles.
Message: Posted by: Woland (Jan 29, 2012 05:11PM)
Thanks for the link, Jonathan.

Reminds me of the story the director of the Smithsonian told on himself. Back in his 20s, he had wanted to become a Flamenco guitarist. But he gradually realized that all of the great Flamenco guitarists were 5 feet tall, Gypsies, and had started playing when they were 5 years old . . .

But I thought this paragraph from the Times article was weird:

[quote]Despite those misgivings he allowed himself one year of dedicated practice, armed with instruction books, a $75 Yamaha acoustic bought on eBay and one thing few adult music students have at their disposal: a year’s sabbatical. [/quote]

Why didn't he acquire a teacher? If he was going to take the year off and all . . .
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Jan 29, 2012 10:28PM)
Couldn't afford one?
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Jan 29, 2012 10:49PM)
Another book along the theme is [b]A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument[/b] by Jasper Rees.
He also spends a year trying to play an instrument, it is a very enjoyable read.
Message: Posted by: PaulPacific (Jan 29, 2012 11:25PM)
This really has nothing whatsoever to do with the theme of this thread, but based on the title of the thread I can't help but recommend my favourite book of all time. I've mentioned the book several times here and on other forums when people inquire as to other people's favourite books. This, IMHO, is the best book ever written! It's as if the author wrote is specifically FOR me!

BOY'S LIFE by Robert McCammon

http://www.robertmccammon.com/novels/boys_life.html
Message: Posted by: critter (Jan 29, 2012 11:30PM)
The book described in the OP actually sounds like it might be right up my alley. Might check it out when I have some actual free time.
A book I like (even though, or maybe because, it's really weird) is Shen Ku. Written by a guy who pretty much lives on a sail boat and is part owner of the largest gym in Thailand. But the author is also 60 years old and built like Bruce Lee so maybe there's something to his lunacy.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Jan 30, 2012 12:07PM)
Can't remember the name of the book, but it's one recommended to me by Ben Train, on the idea of "natural" talent, and mastering a skill. I'm pretty sure others have mentioned it here before, could be a worthwhile companion book to the OP's recommendation.
Message: Posted by: MobilityBundle (Jan 31, 2012 11:16AM)
All this reminds me of my favorite mathematician, Karl Weierstrass. He's a household name among mathematicians and maybe physicists, but perhaps a little obscure beyond those small circles. He was around during the mid-to-late 1800's

He demonstrated mathematical talent as a teenager, but his father demanded he study more practical pursuits like public finance and administration. As a university student, the conflict with his father tarnished his education: he wasn't able to study math seriously, but he neglected his finance and accounting studies. Ultimately, he dropped out of college. With the help of his father's influence, he was able to enroll in another program and became a secondary school teacher.

He eventually got a job in a small town without a major university. His teaching responsibilities weren't limited to math -- he also taught history, handwriting, geography, gym, etc. For many years, he was without access to mathematical journals and couldn't maintain any correspondence with active mathematicians. But eventually, he solved an important problem and his published results cast him into the mathematical limelight. Finally, his mathematical career had begun... at age 40. (Like dog-years, 40 is *ancient* in mathematician-years.)

He eventually went on to make fundamental contributions that were... well, without getting technical, they were important enough that I know his name and life story 100 years after he died. :)
Message: Posted by: critter (Jan 31, 2012 01:31PM)
Was just flipping through another one that looks pretty good. It's called "Moral Minds" by Marc D. Hauser. It's about the science of "morals" and how they evolved. It's a big book but looks really interesting.
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (Jan 31, 2012 09:57PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-29 17:56, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2012-01-29 17:06, Woland wrote:
How did he do?
[/quote]

http://garymarcus.com/books/guitarzero.html

with link the articles.
[/quote]
Ahh, I don't have time to read it. Is it possible for a 40 year old to learn guitar? The answer will determine whether or not I bother to pick up a bass- which I've been wanting to learn for a while. Hey, I'll save a lot of money if the answer is "no", at the very least.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Jan 31, 2012 10:10PM)
The good news is, yes. The bad news us, if you don't have time to read the book, you probably REALLY don't have time to learn the bass.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hilly (Jan 31, 2012 11:15PM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-31 22:57, EsnRedshirt wrote:Ahh, I don't have time to read it. Is it possible for a 40 year old to learn guitar? The answer will determine whether or not I bother to pick up a bass- which I've been wanting to learn for a while. Hey, I'll save a lot of money if the answer is "no", at the very least.
[/quote]

My 5 oldest students are 55, 58, 66, 67, and 70. I only ever had one that was 40. She wasn't very good and eventually gave it up. So you might want to wait 15 years.

By the way, the 55 year old is learning guitar and 4-string banjo, the 58 is learning guitar, mandolin, and 5-string banjo (Scruggs style), the 66 is learning 5-string banjo (Seeger style), the 67 is 5-string banjo (clawhammer style) and the 70 year old is learning guitar.

I've had a few bass players through the years and I was a touring bass rocker in the 70s. So if you'd like some suggestions on getting one and some good self-starter courses just ask.

- B.H.



Hey, wow! 300 posts!
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Jan 31, 2012 11:20PM)
The author briefly took up bass along the way, to jam with a band at a music camp. One friendly thing about the bass is that you avoid the asymmetrical 1/2-step jump that the guitar has on the second string (that is, the intervals remain consistent on the bass).
Message: Posted by: critter (Jan 31, 2012 11:48PM)
Next time you're at guitar center grab the guitar grimoire and the bass grimoire and hold them up next to each other.
Just for fun.