Victor Wooten, January 3, 2014


The day started off at 1 PM at Seminole Music & Sound with Victor doing a clinic. I've seen Victor do clinics several times over the years. Back in the 90s I attended a bass camp in Miami where Victor was a guest. He talked, in great detail, about his playing techniques; double thumb strokes, two-finger plucking, tapping, etc. The one thing about the way he does clinics now, he does not talk at all about technique. It could be, in part, because no one asked questions relating to any really involved playing style. Maybe as a result of our YouTube based learning culture, there's just so much info out there already that people don't need to ask those kinds of questions any more, they just google what they want to know and there's probably a YouTube video explaining it. In his clinics now he seems to be taking a broader view of music instruction and how music relates to life.

A highlight in this particular clinic was when a young, aspiring bassist asked what it takes to be successful as a musician he asked the non-bassists in the room what qualities they would look for if they needed a bassist to cover a gig. A lot of the responses had nothing to do with playing; they said they would want someone who'll show up on time, sober with a good attitude and working equipment. The playing related stuff had to do with listening, groove, feel and repertoire. Not a single person said they needed any specific theoretical knowledge or some kind of super-advanced playing skill. As musicians, we spend a lot of time trying to develop techniques and not enough time on the simple "playing well with others" type skills that we should've learned in kindergarten.  In some ways, he sounded like the  "anti-Vic", almost decrying putting too much emphasis on learning the same "tricks" that made him famous. 

Still, his kind, gentle spirit and his way of dispensing vast musical knowledge in ways that aren't necessarily musical are very effective in creating the feeling in attendees that they can accomplish anything.

Below are pictures from the clinic and the show at the Largo Cultural Center.