BillyRadd Music

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Finding the Groove

Aligning with The Vibe

I just discovered the great contemporary bassist, four-time Grammy Award winner, and artistic guru, Victor Wooten, last summer after I bought my Fender Deluxe Active Precision Bass Special.

Searching around a great book store in Salt Lake City called Golden Braid Books I found Wooten's book called The Music Lesson.  After my self-styled 40 years hiatus from bass playing, just from reading the liner notes, I thought it might start me off on the right foot in taking up the instrument again.
And, oh brother, was I correct.
"Victa's" book is all about finding and sticking to "the groove".  Written as a novel in the mode of a Carlos Castaneda mind expanding epic journey, The Music Lesson chronicles the story of a young bass player desperately in need of improving his skills who awakens one morning to find a strange man in his house who becomes his personal music teacher.
The Music Lesson not only relates one lesson but many, and is not merely for bass players, but for any musician playing any instrument, including vocalists. 
Most musicians approach music mostly from the perspective of notes, melody, timing, and chords.  But, in the The Music Lesson, Wooten points out that music theory is but one element of music and not the most important one. He points out that how we learn and teach music is very different than how we learn a spoken language (like English). When we first learn English, we are not instructed to first learn all the letters of the alphabet, then, put them together to form words.  Instead as children, we just speak, we listen to others speaking and do as they do while, at first, making mistakes without correction. It is only after that we learn to speak a language that we are able to learn the letters, make words, and thus improve on our language skills.
Wooten’s thesis is that we need to approach learning music in the same way.  Instead of learning all the notes first, then understanding chords, we need to be free in the beginning to practice the language of music and make mistakes. 
Wooten’s Book also admonishes musicians to “never lose the groove in order to find a note!” This invaluable lesson alone is worth the price of the book and makes all the difference between becoming a musical artist or merely a player of notes.
The The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music by Victor Wooten demonstrates an appealing, Zen-like approach to making music and is a “must read” for any aspiring musician. It’s available in both novel and audiobook format.

Check out a short video sample of "Victa" finding his groove at the bottom of this blog page.
Picture Credit:  Anita Gayle

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