by Vinny Kabat
When it comes to bass, I always envisioned the bass as a backup and secondary instrument when I was a kid. That all instantly changed the second I heard Victor Wooten – Bassist and five-time Grammy winner – play for the first time. It was his song “U Can’t Hold No Groove” that I checked out first, and the combination of technical prowess and variety in timbres of sound he produced from one four-stringed instrument blew my mind.
I became truly obsessed with Victor’s music shortly after that first listening experience, devouring his discography and finding just about every YouTube video I could find of him. I’ve seen him four times in person and every experience was unbelievably inspiring, and having met and shaken hands with him, he seems like a very genuine and down to earth person that could easily have a huge ego— but he does not at all. His philosophies and writings on music are really profound in my opinion, and I believe anyone trying to learn an instrument or improve an instrument should watch his Ted Talk “music as a language”— see for yourself!
He teaches is that music is a powerful communication tool–it causes us to laugh, cry, think and question. “Music is a language. Both music and verbal languages serve the same purpose: they are both forms of expression. They can be used as a way to communicate with others, they can be read or written, they can make you laugh or cry, think or question and can speak to one or many. And both can definitely make you move. In some instances, music works better than the spoken word because it doesn’t have to be understood to be effective.”
Victor Wooten asks us to approach music the same way we learn verbal language–by embracing mistakes and playing as often as possible.