Monday, January 30, 2012

Guitar Zero - Gary Marcus

Today is the official release of Guitar Zero by NYU Professor and 'deep thinker' Gary Marcus. It's the story of how an internationally renowned scientist decided to conquer music, something that had been elusive and mystifying for most of his life, at the age of 38.

"I had no musical talent whatsoever and at one point was gently told to stop taking recorder lessons when I was younger." That may be a sad commentary on poor teaching more than anything else, but Marcus wanted to know if musicality is something we are born with or can it be developed at any age?

His path included stops at Guitar Hero, Suzuki classes and even a summer camp for budding rockers where he jammed with 11 year-olds in a band called Rush Hour.  He shares his personal challenges with rhythm, theory, and technique and wraps it all in a thoughtful, insightful, and mostly non-academic memoir. 

It's a great read for anyone currently studying (and teaching!) music or wanting to.  And Mr. Marcus' experiences should strike quite a chord with DSM and DLP students. The book also raises some interesting questions about the science of human pleasure and the more basic question, what counts as a life well lived? 

“I might never be Jimi Hendrix... but for a brief moment I could sense what it was like to explore a new musical landscape.”
 His advice for future learners?  Enjoy the journey and don't fixate on the destination.

Excerpted from the