Five time Grammy Award winning electric bassist Victor Wooten was playing the electric bass before he could write his own name. In fact, he describes the perfect way to learn music is the way we learn to speak. Unlike traditional music lessons with all of those rules about what to do and what not to do, when you’re a baby trying on language for the first time, he says, nobody ever tells you that you’re wrong. Everything you say charms your parents, and they even end up speaking like you! If you say “blankie” instead of “blanket” they don’t correct you. They start saying “blankie” too. Can music be learned the same way?
Wooten, who besides touring and recording also runs summer music camps, knows a thing or two about teaching, and you can experience this first hand, for free, Saturday, October 21, at 2:00 p.m. at Kleinhans Music Hall. Wooten will conduct a “master class” and offer his unique coaching style for some area performers while you can “be in the room.” Is it just for bassists? “I hope not” said Wooten. “I want to talk about music.”
One of his mottoes is: “Talent gets you to the door. Preparation gets you through the door. Kindness keeps you in the room. Listening expands the room.”
While Victor Wooten is totally chill, he’s also very passionate about his approach to music, going to far as to write a novel titled “The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music” which, by the way, he advises listening to instead of reading because the audio book includes music and sound effects.
Wooten is in town to perform a new concerto, “The Bass Whisperer,” with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Saturday night, October 21 at 8:00 p.m. (but get there at 7:00 for a pre-concert talk) and Sunday afternoon at 2:30. In a conversation with radio station WNED, Wooten explained how he wanted to create new sounds and use new technology as he invented a five-string electric bass in collaboration with the Fodera Guitars that can be bowed, kind of like a cello (an instrument he also plays). The concerts with the BPO are ticketed events www.bpo.org but the masterclass Saturday at 2:00 p.m. is free and open to the public.