On Friday, September 17th, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to watch Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey put on a Community Workshop for the incoming freshmen at Stanford University. Entitled “Learning In and Through Community” the program utilized music activities to introduce to the students the idea of broadening ones learning experience by living in residential communities. Put together with the help of bass player and Stanford Resident Fellow Rod Taylor, the program also featured drummer J.D. Blair and Saxophonist Bob Hemenger. All I can say is Wow! I was fortunate enough to meet and speak with all of the musicians involved, and found each one to be kind, down to earth guys. Most inspiring was their passion for what they do and their true sense of excitement to be a part of the program.
Victor and crew talked about living and learning together at great length during the hour and a half workshop. The session was very interactive, with several students being brought on stage to illustrate specific examples. Although the workshop was aimed at the Stanford Freshmen, I was definitely able to grasp the greater concept being presented, and took away a lot of new perspectives on how we learn and on life in general. For instance, the idea that we carry around a lot of “baggage” that actually holds us back was an idea that is so simple, yet I never really thought about it in the way it was presented. It definitely gave me a lot to think about and I have already began to see things a little clearer. As you may know from my previous posts, I am currently trying to learn how to play slap bass. Well, I’ve been feeling lately like I have been in a rut and this workshop made me realize that I have put to much pressure on myself. To me learning how to play slap bass is learning how to play like Victor or Flea, but in reality that is not the type of bass player that I want to be. Don’t get me wrong, I love to listen to Victor and would sure love to be able to play some of his licks, but stylistically I would much rather play like Geezer Butler, John Paul Jones and John Entwistle. In realizing this I feel a sense of liberation. I want to be proficient at slap bass, but my style of playing is not centered around it. Suddenly learning to play slap doesn’t seem as big a deal to me and I can see the great improvements I have made in this area already. As an added bonus I was given an audio book copy of Victor’s Book The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music. I have already read the book, but can’t wait to hear it read by Victor himself. Boy do I have a lot to learn!
For more info on the Stanford program click here.