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Guitar Zero Author Gary Marcus Was Guitar Hero at Powell’s

January 27, 2012


Gary Marcus, author of Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning, was at Powell’s last night. A couple hundred fans, musicians, friends and family turned out for the psychologist turned guitar hero. Self-professed to be without any musical talent by his fourth grade teacher decades ago, Marcus decided to find out for himself if someone with no rhythm or discernible talent could learn to play the guitar at the “advanced” age of 38. I’m happy to say that what he found out will please every adult who’s ever yearned to play Stairway to Heaven, but was too afraid to try.  His book is a delightful mix of science and memoir, and debunks the myth that the window of opportunity is lost if music isn’t learned as a child. Readers also learn that there are definitely brain benefits to learning to play and that, in fact, music rewires the brain – in a good way.

In between Marcus’s reading excerpts from his book and humorous anecdotal tales of his endeavor, local bluegrass musicians kicked out the jams, making it quite a memorable and very enjoyable evening. Of course there was one thing we were all waiting for. Finally, Marcus picked up his electric guitar and showed us his chops. He grooved along with the band and was even tapping his foot in time to the beat. Mission accomplished, I would say.

The Penguin Press, 2012

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