The language of music: Victor Wooten

Recommending this great resource from an amazing musician:

Whilst it might appear to be designed for bass players it’s great for everyone.

Victor asks, what is music to you?  Great question!

Whilst hard to articulate, to me, music is the soul speaking, it’s emotion, it’s communication, it’s connection.

These are things that are actually harder to quantify, to write down in words/symbols than to understand.  How do these things articulate into music?  I guess through aspects of feel, space, dynamics, tone, emotion, articulation etc.

Getting the right notes matters, of course, but this isn’t the be all and end all.  The other stuff is equally as important.  Really Victor is re-establishing balance in teaching music which often over accentuates the notes.  But of course we do need balance.

Victor makes his point by soloing with all the ‘wrong’ notes (all the notes not in the scale) and it sounds great.  After all, the ‘wrong’ notes are only a half step away from the right notes (and the ‘wrong’ notes can add colour).

Sometimes we try so hard to be ‘right’ that we sort of hold ourselves back.  Often singers hold themselves in phase 3 of the stages of learning, afraid of taking a risk, afraid of forgetting, of letting go but the magic is at stage 4.

Everyone who comes to see me is aware of the four stages of learning.
1: Unconscious incompetence: when we don’t know what we don’t know
2: Conscious incompetence: when we know we’re incompetant
3: Conscious competence: when with awareness we can be competent
4: Unconscious competence:  Flow state; when we can be competent without concentration/awareness.

We’ve prob. all been in the position of being stuck with something/a certain technique, ‘mix voice’ comes to mind (arggghhh).  Sometimes we need to stop trying so hard to get it right.  Let it go and focus on the other equally as important aspects; groove or feel or emotion or getting others to feel.

After all, music is a living, breathing, thing.  We are talking/responding/listening.  Are you listening?  Do you know what everyone else is playing?  Are you leaving space?  Are you ‘playing’ the space?  How do you feel?  Where is that feeling in your body?

A great exercise is let go of the idea of one perfect rendition, instead experimenting with singing songs in ways I’ve never sung them before.  Trying everything quiet or everything louder.  Allowing different voice qualities to happen in the moment.  This helps you to find your musical freedom.

Anyway it a great DVD so do check it out!



Jen, coach, teacher, free spirit, interested in art, philosophy, truth, freedom, helping people.

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