Giving credit to whom it’s due
When I decided to return to my musical roots at retirement, I discovered the work of Gary Marcus, an award-winning professor of psychology at NYU and author of Guitar Zero. Aptly subtitled, The New Musician and the Science of Learning, Professor Marcus in his timely book generously shares his experiences of learning guitar at the age of 39 with a readable mixture of memoir, musical anecdote, and scientific literature on how the human brain acquires new knowledge and expertise.
I didn’t jump back into music on a whim; I gave it serious thought and analyzed it seven ways to Sunday, and after reading Guitar Zero, I bought an electric guitar and hooked up with a local jazz guitarist, Andrew Wright, who also teaches music (when Andy isn’t teaching, he’s gigging with Cliff Barackman when he’s not Finding Bigfoot).
Zen Guitar, an inspirational, philosophical approach to learning and playing guitar is what keeps me centered on my musical journey. Philip Toshio Sudo, the author of Zen Guitar, passionately melds together the two worlds of guitarist and Zen practitioner. Think Japanese Samurai, but substitute the katana for a Stratocaster, and you might render an image of a guitarist practicing his scales in a kendo hall.
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