Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guitar Zero: A Neuroscientist Debunks the Myth of “Music Instinct” and Learns to Play

On nature, nurture, and the neural pathways of possibility.
Are musicians born or made? What is the line between skill and talent in any domain, and can we acquire either later in life? That’s exactly what neuroscientist Gary Marcusexplores in Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning — a fascinating journey into the limits of human reinvention...
...the idea that learning works best when the student tackles something that is just beyond his or her current reach, neither too hard nor too easy. In classroom situations, for example, one team of researchers estimated that its’ best to arrange things so that children succeed roughly 80 percent of the time; more than that, and kids tend to get bored; less, and they tend to get frustrated. The same is surely true of adults, too, which is why video game manufacturers have been known to invest millions in play testing to make sure that the level of challenge always lies in that sweet spot of neither too easy nor too hard.”