counter create hit The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music

Availability: Ready to download

From Grammy-winning musical icon and legendary bassist Victor L. Wooten comes The Music Lesson, the story of a struggling young musician who wanted music to be his life, and who wanted his life to be great. Then, from nowhere it seemed, a teacher arrived. Part musical genius, part philosopher, part eccentric wise man, the teacher would guide the young musician on a spiritu From Grammy-winning musical icon and legendary bassist Victor L. Wooten comes The Music Lesson, the story of a struggling young musician who wanted music to be his life, and who wanted his life to be great. Then, from nowhere it seemed, a teacher arrived. Part musical genius, part philosopher, part eccentric wise man, the teacher would guide the young musician on a spiritual journey, and teach him that the gifts we get from music mirror those from life, and every movement, phrase, and chord has its own meaning...All you have to do is find the song inside.


Compare

From Grammy-winning musical icon and legendary bassist Victor L. Wooten comes The Music Lesson, the story of a struggling young musician who wanted music to be his life, and who wanted his life to be great. Then, from nowhere it seemed, a teacher arrived. Part musical genius, part philosopher, part eccentric wise man, the teacher would guide the young musician on a spiritu From Grammy-winning musical icon and legendary bassist Victor L. Wooten comes The Music Lesson, the story of a struggling young musician who wanted music to be his life, and who wanted his life to be great. Then, from nowhere it seemed, a teacher arrived. Part musical genius, part philosopher, part eccentric wise man, the teacher would guide the young musician on a spiritual journey, and teach him that the gifts we get from music mirror those from life, and every movement, phrase, and chord has its own meaning...All you have to do is find the song inside.

30 review for The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

    I've played the banjo for a couple years now. My only prior brush with playing music was piano lessons in the 4th and 5th grade. I'm glad I took them, i learned the basics of reading music and where middle C is, but apart from that, they didn't go so well. My younger brother and I were enrolled together and the piano teacher, Mrs. Blackburn, tried to keep us at the same level but he picked it up a lot quicker than I did and I was holding him back. He learned faster and played better. He did then I've played the banjo for a couple years now. My only prior brush with playing music was piano lessons in the 4th and 5th grade. I'm glad I took them, i learned the basics of reading music and where middle C is, but apart from that, they didn't go so well. My younger brother and I were enrolled together and the piano teacher, Mrs. Blackburn, tried to keep us at the same level but he picked it up a lot quicker than I did and I was holding him back. He learned faster and played better. He did then and he does now. When I was a kid in church I was honestly asked in so many words if I was trying to sabotage the song we were learning and would I mind singing a bit quieter? It's safe to say that my ability to carry a tune was, and is, minimal. For me, the ability to play music has always felt inaccessible. It's a membership in an exclusive circle that you are either born into or obtain access to by selling the invisible part of your dual nature at a midnight meeting on a dusty crossroads in the deep South. Needless to say, I wasn't born into the club and my soul remains firmly ensconced in my body. I don't think it's because I don't have the genes. I often fell asleep listening to my dad jamming on the piano or making up songs on the guitar. He'd even whip out the viola at family reunions and treat us to a duet with grandma on the piano. Whatever the reason for my lack of musicality, I really, really want in. I want to be able to pick up the guitar and strum a few chords with a friend or play backup banjo in an informal bluegrass jam session. I want my playing style to shift from being something that resembles computer programming to being organic and emotional. Regrettably, after two years of picking the banjo daily, I don't feel I'm a lot closer to that goal and, as rewarding as the learning has been, it's a bit disheartening at times. The Music Lesson is probably geared more towards people like my dad or my brother; musicians who are already competent but want to take it to the next level, but I found it incredibly helpful in my personal mission to extract the music that I hope exists somewhere in there. The writing is more metaphysical than technical and more abstract than concrete, but I found the way it teaches you how to think about music and life enlightening. Wooten talks about music as a language and how you should go about learning it the way you learned English. To learn English, you practiced, but didn't think of it as such. You simply found yourself immersed in the company of expert speakers and in order to communicate with them you had to follow their example. At this point, I think learning music will have to be something closer to the process I used learning Spanish: intense study and explicit practice combined with immersion. Immersion meaning playing along with experts, in person if possible, but with recordings when the Avett brothers aren't available to come over and jam. As simple and obvious as that sounds, I hadn't really thought about it that way before. The Music Lesson is full of insights like that. There are lessons on how to trust yourself when you play, how to combine the elements of music in ways that sound good and how to play along with others. I think the book was meant to be listened to, not read. The audiobook is narrated by Victor Wooten and a cast of several actors. It's full of music and sound effects and it makes the conversational writing style that might seem forced or naive on paper feel completely natural. Quite a bit of it is "out there," but I think the hyperbole is purposeful, it drives home the lessons and makes them memorable. Listen to it with an open mind. I still haven't found my music, but after reading this, I feel like there's finally progress in the search.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Moore

    I knew of Victor when I lived in Nashville. He used to frequent the music store where I worked. He is a friendly, peaceful, humble sort of guy, and always had words of encouragement when I began learning to play the banjo. After leaving Tennessee and moving to Texas my banjo stayed in the case more and life got busy. Now I'm living in North Carolina's High Country and surrounded by all sorts of old-time, bluegrass talent .. still a struggling amateur plucker. Victor's book inspires me to relax a I knew of Victor when I lived in Nashville. He used to frequent the music store where I worked. He is a friendly, peaceful, humble sort of guy, and always had words of encouragement when I began learning to play the banjo. After leaving Tennessee and moving to Texas my banjo stayed in the case more and life got busy. Now I'm living in North Carolina's High Country and surrounded by all sorts of old-time, bluegrass talent .. still a struggling amateur plucker. Victor's book inspires me to relax and feel the groove rather than getting hung up on tabs and rolls. One day I hope to be able to do this in a group setting rather than just joining in with random riffs. Until then I keep practicing these lessons on learning to glide along and feel the music. The chapters on Groove, Notes, Articulation, Technique, Feel, Dynamics, Rhythm, Tone, Phrasing, and Space are uniquely taught with a connection to life itself. Music comes to life and all its elements surround us in concrete ways. I think this book teaches 'mindfulness' of mystical melodies that are buried in our souls. For musicians and music lovers … there is more than just listening … feel, smell, taste, and see. Experience it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Thor

    The common complaint I've heard about this book is that it is too "New-agey" and though I understand where people are coming from, this book is a really fascinating look at the elements of Music, and, therefore, life. Take the new-age stuff with a grain of salt, if it isn't your thing, but as a professional musician, it has helped me to return to the source of why i do this. The common complaint I've heard about this book is that it is too "New-agey" and though I understand where people are coming from, this book is a really fascinating look at the elements of Music, and, therefore, life. Take the new-age stuff with a grain of salt, if it isn't your thing, but as a professional musician, it has helped me to return to the source of why i do this.

  4. 5 out of 5

    AlmieMeg

    I had never heard of Victor Whooten until, completely by accident, I stumbled upon an internet discussion of him giving a commentary on his book. I was so captivated by the genuineness of his personality that I knew I had to read this book. It's a very unique and insightful story, as much about life, as it is about music. As for the story part, it was like stepping into a fairy tale that I desperately wanted to be true. However, the life lessons, as well as the music lessons, really gave me some I had never heard of Victor Whooten until, completely by accident, I stumbled upon an internet discussion of him giving a commentary on his book. I was so captivated by the genuineness of his personality that I knew I had to read this book. It's a very unique and insightful story, as much about life, as it is about music. As for the story part, it was like stepping into a fairy tale that I desperately wanted to be true. However, the life lessons, as well as the music lessons, really gave me something to think about and to carry with me. I found myself laughing aloud at some of the metaphors because they were so true and easy to relate to. His personality really comes through in this story to the point that I found myself wishing that he and the main character whom he created in this story were in our circle of friends. I look forward to his next book, irrespective of topic. This is a delightful, deliciously eccentric, insightful and unique story with many life lessons. It's one of those books that you'll probably either like or you won't, with no in between. I really liked it!

  5. 4 out of 5

    pianogal

    This book is kinda crap - or maybe I was simply to sober to fully comprehend the genius of Michael. All I needed was a bag of shrooms and a patchouli scented candle and it might have made sense. Is the stuff being taught worthwhile? Sure, but for me the lessons were SO obvious that it was hard not to laugh out loud at his various unveilings of "genius". You mean music's not just about the notes?!?! Really!?!? I guess I spent too many years in reputable music schools to really appreciate this 'enl This book is kinda crap - or maybe I was simply to sober to fully comprehend the genius of Michael. All I needed was a bag of shrooms and a patchouli scented candle and it might have made sense. Is the stuff being taught worthwhile? Sure, but for me the lessons were SO obvious that it was hard not to laugh out loud at his various unveilings of "genius". You mean music's not just about the notes?!?! Really!?!? I guess I spent too many years in reputable music schools to really appreciate this 'enlightened' (ahem) form of the music learnin'. I thought about finishing this book (I got to about page 80 or so) but then I thought about all the other, better things I could do with my time...including actually playing music. Maybe newbies will appreciate this book, but anyone who is a seasoned musician with an ounce of sense could just sing Kumbaya once and move one with his/her life.

  6. 4 out of 5

    KrisAnne

    Pretty dang woo-woo. I wish he'd just taken the important points and made a bulleted list instead of writing a whole book with this weird mystical-teacher-appearing-from-nowhere conceit. I could only read about 5 pages at a time, and I only read it because some of my students have to do a book report on it. And the ones who were assigned to read it will likely get something out of it, so fine, give this book to your serious late-teens music student who is just learning how to have deep thoughts. Pretty dang woo-woo. I wish he'd just taken the important points and made a bulleted list instead of writing a whole book with this weird mystical-teacher-appearing-from-nowhere conceit. I could only read about 5 pages at a time, and I only read it because some of my students have to do a book report on it. And the ones who were assigned to read it will likely get something out of it, so fine, give this book to your serious late-teens music student who is just learning how to have deep thoughts.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gary Bryan

    I had been a passable metal guitarist for around a decade, practising just enough to keep up with my bands and knowing the minor scale just enough to kludge together a riff or a solo, but very aware of my musical limitations. I wanted to move beyond this plateau and become a real Musician like my peers whom I envied, those who simply played what they wanted with little conscious effort. Overwhelmed by everything I still had to learn and unsure of where to begin, however, I just lost motivation a I had been a passable metal guitarist for around a decade, practising just enough to keep up with my bands and knowing the minor scale just enough to kludge together a riff or a solo, but very aware of my musical limitations. I wanted to move beyond this plateau and become a real Musician like my peers whom I envied, those who simply played what they wanted with little conscious effort. Overwhelmed by everything I still had to learn and unsure of where to begin, however, I just lost motivation and continued to tread water. I asked these accomplished musicians for advice, but received meaningless generalities with no specifics on their application - "just play the notes man", "just feel the groove", "I've always known how to sing" - and in asking for detail I was told I was missing the point and overthinking it. These well-meaning platitudes were a product of unconscious competence: they had spent decades studying and applying technique and theory (or playing by ear and developing an unconscious understanding of them) to the point where it had become natural, so by that logic I shouldn't have to think about it either. Needless to say, what got me out of the plateau was not their input, but putting more structure into my practice and addressing the gaps in my knowledge. This Michael character reminded me of these patronising experts and their advice: if it's easy to him, it's easy to you too, and all you need to overcome your limits is a simple shift in perspective. There were some genuinely insightful ideas, for example that many focus too much on notes (including scales and harmony etc.) to the exclusion of equally important components like dynamics and phrasing, and some of the anecdotes did elucidate how abstract concepts like "the groove" can be understood and applied, but overall I found little to help to my own performance. The big obstacle between my ability and Michael's is still simply practice and application of theory. The idea of giving music and life advice through a spiritually-themed story was a clever one, but I felt that the author didn't quite had the writing skill to pull it off so it mostly came across as cheesy and pretentious. Michael's supernatural powers, while obviously intended as a metaphor, just contributed to the idea that good musicians have something innate that the rest of us lack - the opposite of what a book like this should be teaching. The Music Lesson could provide some great insight to somebody who is quite competent but feels like something is missing: they're playing their instrument but not really playing Music. A beginner or intermediate musician who wishes to avoid falling into that trap could also get something out of it, but it's to take with a large pinch of salt and the understanding that its abstract advice should complement, not replace, conventional practice and study.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dexter

    Over the summer, I went to Victor Wooten’s music and nature camp in Nashville, Tennessee. This camp was recommended to me by the leader of a band I play trumpet in who teaches at the camp sometimes. This camp was my first sleepaway camp experience, and I thought it was the best camp I had ever been to. During that weeklong experience, I learned more than I have ever learned in a regular month of my life. The camp improved my social skills, and my musical skills. Once I returned home from the cam Over the summer, I went to Victor Wooten’s music and nature camp in Nashville, Tennessee. This camp was recommended to me by the leader of a band I play trumpet in who teaches at the camp sometimes. This camp was my first sleepaway camp experience, and I thought it was the best camp I had ever been to. During that weeklong experience, I learned more than I have ever learned in a regular month of my life. The camp improved my social skills, and my musical skills. Once I returned home from the camp, I decided I may as well read Victor Wooten’s book, The Music Lesson, after having had such a great experience at his camp. The protagonist in The Music Lesson is Victor Wooten, but lots of the story is not actually things that happened to him, so the book is a fictional memoir. He uses fake events to communicate his ideas about music. This creates drama and draws the reader into his philosophy. In the beginning of the book, a mysterious character named Michal appeared in Victor Wooten’s house. He claims to be Victor’s “teacher.” From then on in the book, Michal shows Victor many things, each one relating to a specific element of music. With each thing Michal shows him, I always found myself reading a little slower so I could learn the most. Overall, this book is a story of an ambitious bass player who is lead onto the path of what music can really be. As I journeyed with Victor along this path full of spirituality and excitement, I found myself always wondering if I, too, could discover and follow this path. This is a book about someone who changes. He moves from musician to teacher, and questioner to believer. It pulls the reader deep into a mysterious and beautiful world. It offers to change the way the reader thinks about music in every way, shape, and form. The Music Lesson is one of the best, most transformative books I have read, and is definitely much more than just a music lesson. I recommend it to everyone ready to dive deep into an eye-opening world of music.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Russell

    This is influential bass guitarist Victor Wooten's response to numerous requests he's had to write a music instruction book. Rather than writing a traditional method book, however, Wooten chose a far more novel approach to music instruction. He creates a sort of personal mythology in which strange characters appear to him out of nowhere and take him on unpredictable journeys in which weird little miracles happen. These events are all for the purpose of teaching him how to be a great musician. The This is influential bass guitarist Victor Wooten's response to numerous requests he's had to write a music instruction book. Rather than writing a traditional method book, however, Wooten chose a far more novel approach to music instruction. He creates a sort of personal mythology in which strange characters appear to him out of nowhere and take him on unpredictable journeys in which weird little miracles happen. These events are all for the purpose of teaching him how to be a great musician. The books main strange character, Michael, divides music up into ten components: Groove, Notes, Articulation, Technique, Emotion, Dynamics, Rhythm, Tone, Phrasing, and Space. He then takes Wooten on various adventures that help to teach him about each of these components. It's difficult to tell how seriously Wooten wants us to take some of these strange stories, which often involve psychics, telepathy, and other such mumbo jumbo. But in spite of the weirdness of the whole thing, there are some very important and insightful music lessons here. And, of course, this is the point of the book. Therefore, I can recommend it to any musician, whether a beginner or advanced player.

  10. 5 out of 5

    DivaDiane

    I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d never heard of Victor Wooten before (his musical world and mine don’t often intersect), but the title of the book caught my eye and the blurb made me buy it. It could all be made up, incredible people that mysteriously appear (but aren’t frightening) and insist on showing Victor a piece of the puzzle that is making music and how it fits into the world. Then they all disappear and he is left wondering what happened. Many of the lessons and aspects of music and ma I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d never heard of Victor Wooten before (his musical world and mine don’t often intersect), but the title of the book caught my eye and the blurb made me buy it. It could all be made up, incredible people that mysteriously appear (but aren’t frightening) and insist on showing Victor a piece of the puzzle that is making music and how it fits into the world. Then they all disappear and he is left wondering what happened. Many of the lessons and aspects of music and making music are familiar to me. But it was presented in a fun and interesting way with great narration and music throughout. Highly recommended, especially to anyone who enjoys making music.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Lennon

    Music is more than the mechanics of playing an instrument. Good music instructors don't teach, they show their students the way. That's a key Wooten message. Getting beyond practice and music lessons is what this book offers. It's not about technique or theory, it's about understanding what Music is, where it resides (all around us), and how it manifests itself each time we play. The author's chosen literary "voice" in this book is an other-worldly character, essential in order to take our underst Music is more than the mechanics of playing an instrument. Good music instructors don't teach, they show their students the way. That's a key Wooten message. Getting beyond practice and music lessons is what this book offers. It's not about technique or theory, it's about understanding what Music is, where it resides (all around us), and how it manifests itself each time we play. The author's chosen literary "voice" in this book is an other-worldly character, essential in order to take our understanding of Music beyond the mechanics. As readers, that requires us to "suspend disbelief" in order to be open to receiving the learning that the voice offers. As an adult acoustic guitar beginner, I take lessons from a professional musician who injects beyond-the-mechanics insights as he shows me how to play. While seriously committed to the disciplines of notes and rhythms, he, like the voice in Wooten's book, never lets his students forget that music is magic. As a student, I've tried too hard to "get it right" as I practiced, but from Wooten's book, I've benefited from the advice to "try easy" along with and endless insights and aha moments that have had a calming influence on my approach to learning. Wooten addresses the "big" issues about learning music like notes, duration, technique, tempo, tone and rests. He vividly connects the reader with the music that exists in silence, in nature, and in the human body. There are incidences described that seem impossible, but are they really or is it our own limited understanding of ourselves and life, even an intellectual arrogance, that are in the way? It's a wonderful book that tests our ability to approach this topic from multiple intellectual and spiritual levels. I intend to reread it routinely.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I am glad that I began my summer reading with the book “The Music Lesson” by Victor Wooten. This is a summer that I plan to begin to focus intensely on music or Music with a capital M as the author refers to it in The Music Lesson. This is a strange book at first. Wooten sets it up with an encounter with a mysterious music teacher named Michael. It is written much in the spirit of Carlos Castaneda’s works in that Michael is able to do incredible things by manipulating music and sound such as fin I am glad that I began my summer reading with the book “The Music Lesson” by Victor Wooten. This is a summer that I plan to begin to focus intensely on music or Music with a capital M as the author refers to it in The Music Lesson. This is a strange book at first. Wooten sets it up with an encounter with a mysterious music teacher named Michael. It is written much in the spirit of Carlos Castaneda’s works in that Michael is able to do incredible things by manipulating music and sound such as find a particular CD in a huge collection simply by “feeling” the music ( without seeing) and pulling it out. He along with another musical mystic are able to heal a man injured in an automobile accident by using sound to realign energy. There is much more in this book about playing Music or more appropriately having Music “play you”. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Music and spiritual pursuits. I intend to revisit this book at the end of the summer to reassess my feelings regarding the book and the ideas contained within.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joe Richards

    My new favourite book on how to approach life, music and spirituality. Having absorbed the lessons presented here as an extended parable, it became clear to this reader that the manner in which one chooses to approach either their life or their music (whether listening or playing) very much determines the essence and the outcome of the other. The notions are explored enthusiastically, philosophically and, when venturing towards the New Age, semi-critically. Examples are provided in naturalistic, My new favourite book on how to approach life, music and spirituality. Having absorbed the lessons presented here as an extended parable, it became clear to this reader that the manner in which one chooses to approach either their life or their music (whether listening or playing) very much determines the essence and the outcome of the other. The notions are explored enthusiastically, philosophically and, when venturing towards the New Age, semi-critically. Examples are provided in naturalistic, universal contexts and, whilst next to nothing is taught on how to actually play an instrument, this is an essential read for any serious musician (even bassists who, like me, aren't necessarily drawn to Victor's playing style). Moreover, this is an essential read for anyone looking to explore the deeper qualities, the differences and the broader ideals of musicianship and musicality, as well as for anyone interested in exploring the intertwined relationships between life, music, and nature with their own past, present and future. A playful, insightful and genuinely rewarding read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    There are times when this book seems silly and simple. Then there are times when this book seems profound and simple. A great musician shares things he has learned in a fun format. It quickly opened up my creativity and time will tell if it’s lessons become life changing habits or just reminders nuggets of wisdom. I guess that is up to me. The highest praise I have is that I am anxious to share it with friends. Lots of truth in this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tandava Brahmachari

    An excellent book for anyone who wants to stop playing their instrument and start playing Music. Full of absolute gems -- of both musical and spiritual principles -- for expanding your awareness and consciousness, and experiencing not only Music but Life differently. A quick and easy read, but with lots of food for thought. Very reminiscent of books like Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah or Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives in the theme of eccentric spiritual t An excellent book for anyone who wants to stop playing their instrument and start playing Music. Full of absolute gems -- of both musical and spiritual principles -- for expanding your awareness and consciousness, and experiencing not only Music but Life differently. A quick and easy read, but with lots of food for thought. Very reminiscent of books like Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah or Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives in the theme of eccentric spiritual teacher imparting life-changing wisdom to a surprised student. In fact there was a pretty explicit nod to Illusions with the biplane reference early on, which amused me. If you like those books and you like music, you're good to go here. Though if you're uncomfortable with things getting too "woo woo" New-Agey, you might want to think twice (see some of the less positive reviews). To be honest, I was originally going to dock this a star for the writing, which I'm afraid the author is not as adept at as music. That distracted me at first (I just wanted to edit it as I went along), but once I got into it I found myself enjoying it too much to be that miserly with the rating. Just follow some of the early advice in the book: get into the groove of it and don't worry too much about the notes (or in this case, words).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    Victor Wooten is a Grammy award winning musician whose quirky little book isn't just about music. As the subtitle suggests it's also about living intentionally and while I was less than impressed with Wooten's writing which can be a little too trite and cutesy the book was not entirely without merit. It's structured around a set of lessons intended to illustrate 10 important characteristics of good musicianship as explained by a mysterious cast of over-the-top characters who appear and disappear Victor Wooten is a Grammy award winning musician whose quirky little book isn't just about music. As the subtitle suggests it's also about living intentionally and while I was less than impressed with Wooten's writing which can be a little too trite and cutesy the book was not entirely without merit. It's structured around a set of lessons intended to illustrate 10 important characteristics of good musicianship as explained by a mysterious cast of over-the-top characters who appear and disappear as the narrative progresses. Despite what felt like an overabundance of metaphors, analogies, parables and anecdotes, I liked the way Wooten kept using his knowledge as a musician to talk about what it means to live in a mindful way (I suspect he's a Buddhist!) Instead of worrying about the mistakes they've just made or the difficult passage that's about to come up, musicians need to simply focus on what they're playing at the moment. Notes aren't the most important things -- it's the music that counts. Instead of thinking about playing an instrument it's better to concentrate on making music. It's all good advice regardless of whether we're musicians or not.

  17. 4 out of 5

    James

    There is a lot of mystical mumbo-jumbo here that I have no use for. Full of pantheism and positive thinking, Wooten tries to write a spiritual book. Kind of like if Paulo Coelho's Alchemist strapped on a bass guitar. But I like this book better than the Alchemist. Mostly because I like the bass guitar, and am a fan of Victor. The redeeming part of this book is that it is also a book about the elements of music. These seem to be the same elements as those he presented in his instructional DVD, Gr There is a lot of mystical mumbo-jumbo here that I have no use for. Full of pantheism and positive thinking, Wooten tries to write a spiritual book. Kind of like if Paulo Coelho's Alchemist strapped on a bass guitar. But I like this book better than the Alchemist. Mostly because I like the bass guitar, and am a fan of Victor. The redeeming part of this book is that it is also a book about the elements of music. These seem to be the same elements as those he presented in his instructional DVD, Groove Workshop. So nothing new here, but some of it bears repeating. I found myself getting annoyed at the mystical side, and wanting Victor to talk about making music more and meditation less.

  18. 5 out of 5

    John

    It's hard to decide what to think of this book. Taken literally it is a woo-woo Carlos Castaneda mystical BS-story. But stepping back there is some lovely stuff about attention, heart, deliberate practice (including when not to bother), and how to think about and feel what's going on musically. I suspect that anyone who has played for any length of time will find parts of it obvious, but I also suspect that almost everyone will come away with something new. It's hard to decide what to think of this book. Taken literally it is a woo-woo Carlos Castaneda mystical BS-story. But stepping back there is some lovely stuff about attention, heart, deliberate practice (including when not to bother), and how to think about and feel what's going on musically. I suspect that anyone who has played for any length of time will find parts of it obvious, but I also suspect that almost everyone will come away with something new.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brian Hutzell

    Wooten has some valuable tips to offer but I found his advice diluted by the corny New Age framing story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    There are good concepts to think about and to learn from in The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music. That in itself makes this book worth reading but the way the information was revealed was a bit roundabout. This spiritual and metaphoric way of teaching will be appealing to many other readers though. I disagreed with some of the opinions of the author but he encourages the reader to do so. Overall it was a good read. There are good concepts to think about and to learn from in The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music. That in itself makes this book worth reading but the way the information was revealed was a bit roundabout. This spiritual and metaphoric way of teaching will be appealing to many other readers though. I disagreed with some of the opinions of the author but he encourages the reader to do so. Overall it was a good read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy "the book-bat"

    I just don't know what to say or how to rate this one I just don't know what to say or how to rate this one

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amani

    4.5 STARS. Excellent parallels between music and life. I would have enjoyed meeting Sam & Michael!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Victor Chang

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Grammy Winning Musician Victor L. Wooten Doesn’t Play Bass. He Plays Music. As many of our readers already know, the Pelham PLUS is closing down in December. When we began, we promised to deliver high quality journalism to the people of Pelham. After four-and-a-half years of existence, we feel that now, the time is right to finally make good on our promise. Therefore, before we close our doors for good, we wanted to fulfill our mission to bring quality journalism to Pelham—by publishing one last Grammy Winning Musician Victor L. Wooten Doesn’t Play Bass. He Plays Music. As many of our readers already know, the Pelham PLUS is closing down in December. When we began, we promised to deliver high quality journalism to the people of Pelham. After four-and-a-half years of existence, we feel that now, the time is right to finally make good on our promise. Therefore, before we close our doors for good, we wanted to fulfill our mission to bring quality journalism to Pelham—by publishing one last article about a man who lives in Tennessee. Victor L. Wooten is a bassist living in a cabin in the woods of Nashville whose critically defamed book, The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search For Growth Through Music, details his encounter with a magical music guru and how it changed his life. He talked to the Pelham PLUS about his experiences with mysticism, music, and the mysterious mentor who taught him everything he knows. The following is a condensed transcription of the conversation. Q: What instrument do you play? A: Right now, are you talking in mouth? No! You’re talking in English! After this interview is over, when you are transcribing it, are you writing in computer? If you decided to use a pen instead, are you writing in pen? No! You’re writing in English! True writers are not limited by what they write with. Whether they type or handwrite is completely irrelevant. In that same vein, the instrument I play is totally extraneous. I am a musician! I play music, not instruments. The instrument is just a tool for music, in the same way that a pen is just a tool for writing. The problem with most musicians is that they express their feelings with their instrument, not through their instrument. They are not true musicians. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Seriously, what do you play? I told you, I play music! Boy, do you have a lot to learn. Well, if you insist, fine, I play music through my bass guitar. I started when I was two years old, though back then, I didn’t play music. I only played bass guitar. Only later would I be able to play music itself. But yeah, if you are asking what instrument I play, I play bass guitar. And now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to shamelessly plug my new book, The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search For— Yes, The Pelham PLUS have received an advance copy of your new book. So, in the book, you claim to be able to ‘tune into emotions’. Is that right? Yes! For example, right now, your emotional status is a combination of skepticism and annoyance. I was like that too, back when I first learned about [tuning into emotions]. My mentor, Michael, taught it to me by telling me to close my eyes and dig up a Curtis Mayfield CD out of my massive CD stack. Obviously, I failed. Yet somehow, this guy, Michael, was able to find my Curtis Mayfield CD—while blindfolded. He also found my Debbie Gibson CD as well, unfortunately. He told me he did it by “tuning in” the emotions within the disk. It mystified me. Yet, what astounded me was how I could channel my own emotions. It felt like a tingle, excitement, I mean, and it felt like a ball. I could move it around my body. Michael told me to try easy, and that’s how I managed to do it. It sounds strange, but the harder you try, the harder it is. You have to try easier, if you know what I mean. I’m still skeptical of your claims. You said you can ‘collect thoughts’ too? Yes, I can collect thoughts. Let me demonstrate. (Wooten sits on the ground and closes his eyes as if he is meditating. He continues speaking) This is what I do to hone in on thoughts. No, I don’t need to meditate to collect thoughts, but it helps. I can do it while walking down the sidewalk. It feels second nature to me. But it’s so overwhelming too. I sometimes feel like a homeless bag lady pushing a cart of thoughts with me. I can’t process them all, so I carry them in the overflowing cart of my mind, if you know what I mean. It makes me think of all the “crazy” people I see on the street. Maybe they’re not crazy. Maybe their minds are just very to the thoughts around them and they can’t handle it all. Michael used it all the time, mostly to creep me out. He always managed to blurt out whatever I was thinking, while I was thinking it. It was an uncanny ability, but he helped me pick it up. Anyway, I know you didn’t listen to a word I just said. Your thoughts are projecting that much to me. You were just thinking about your geometry homework. Your teacher is Mr. Rogers, and he assigned you five proofs due next Wednesday, but you plan on doing them all tonight so that you will have more time to study for the science test next Friday. Correct? Gee, that’s creepily accurate. Welp, it seems like you have a career in the NSA all lined up for you. Why music? Firstly, music is more powerful than the NSA, because it touches people’s emotions in a way no one else can. The government, or the NSA, actually keeps files on famous musicians like Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, those types of people. Why? Because they can reach out and change emotions in a huge way, in a way that the NSA just can’t. James Brown—oh, by the way, I love his music—James Brown, he was contacted by President Johnson after Martin Luther King was assassinated. They wanted him to address the public and quell their anxieties. And he did! He, one person only, calmed a nation. Tell me, can the NSA do that? Also, just something I want to say, the NSA makes bad vibrations. After that cat Snowden came around, everyone was so afraid for their privacy, afraid that their smartphones might be spying on them. It caused a panic. That’s why I live in a cabin in the woods. There ain’t no cell phone towers or listening devices there. Only good vibrations and nature there. What is this ‘good vibrations,’ ‘bad vibrations’ dichotomy you’ve been talking about? What’s up with that? Okay, let me start by explaining that everything is in a constant state of motion. Everything is always moving, even if it doesn’t look like it. You won’t believe what I’m about to say next, and I can’t force you to believe me either. I can only tell you what happened. So, me, Michael, and this other guy who’s friends with Michael, Uncle Clyde, we were hanging down when an out of control car sent a man skidding across the street. He was bleeding and everything, it was bad. Michael and Clyde rushed to the guy, and started singing over his limp body. Of course, knowing Michael and this Clyde fellow, I knew he was up to something. Yet, they clearly did something right because the man resuscitated after a roundabout five minutes. Later, I was obviously very curious on how Michael did this, so I asked him. That’s where he introduced the idea of good vibrations. Good vibrations are more than just nice sounds. Good vibrations reorganize the body. See, traumas like accidents cause the body to become disorganized. When the car hits you, well, of course you’re ragdolled, but it also causes your body to vibrate a certain way. Those are bad vibrations. Even if it is not physical trauma, negative emotions: worry, sadness, etc., those things create bad vibrations, too. I’m confused on how you met this mentor, Michael, that you keep mentioning. Is it true that he just broke into your house while you were practicing and offered to teach you? That’s exactly how I met him! It was on a rainy day. I was supposed to be practicing (but in reality, I was sleeping). When I awoke, there he was. He was wearing a blue NASA style jumpsuit and a jetblack motorcycle helmet. It looked absurd. Of course, my first reaction was to ask him, “How’d you get in here?” He just told me, “You asked me to come.” I never met this guy in my life and I most certainly did not ask him to come to my house! Yet, somehow, I did not feel afraid at all. “Who are you,” I asked him in a surprisingly calm voice. I seriously don’t get how I wasn’t scared of this strange looking intruder, but something about him seemed intriguing. “I am your teacher,” is all he has to say. He went on to claim that he was a teacher of “nothing” and that I asked him to come. Bear in mind, this is a guy who shows up in my house, unannounced, and is now claiming that I invited him. I was wondering whether he was real, or just a robber playing with me before he runs off with my wallet. But what he did next convinced me he was serious. He launched into a lecture on groove. I don’t remember the specifics, but one part really stuck with me. It was when he said, “Never lose the groove in order to find a note.” It was a revelation, and what made me want to learn more from him. Do you have any proof that Michael actually exists? If you mean if I have his phone number or a picture of him, no. It was sort of astounding, really. Now that I think of it, I don’t have any proof that he exists at all! The only thing that he gave me were twelve handwritten measures of music. He claimed that they were “a gift from Music.” At first, I thought he meant “a gift of music,” but he’s always very deliberate with his words. I still have those measures, and I add them to my practice routine. I haven’t seen Michael for years now, and sometimes I wonder where he is. Probably mucking about with some other musician’s mind. What was the most important thing that Michael taught you? Well, let’s start by saying that no one can teach anyone anything. Until the day when knowledge can be physically implanted into your head, nothing can be taught. Only shown. So then the question should be, “What was the most important thing that Michael taught me?” Here’s my answer: Music is alive, female, and you can talk to it. Sound strange? It did to me. I saw her in a vision. She had such a soft, sweet voice. She told me that she was dying because fewer and fewer musicians actually “spoke” directly with her, instead deciding to only learn about her from books and teachers. She begged me to reconnect to her. Her message touched my soul. If you only learned a single thing from me, I would tell that to talk to music, honestly have a real conversation with her. It will change your life. … So, yeah. Finally, this is more of a point of curiosity than anything else. If you talked to Music right now, what do you think she would say about Old Town Roads? Well, Music is a very tolerant person. Whoever made that song, I’m not exactly sure who made it, they probably loved that song because it was their musical truth. That’s what Music gifted to them, she gave them the song as a gift. I mean, if you give me a couple minutes, I could go ask Music herself and get you a more accurate answer, but I suspect that she would only repeat whatever I already said. Why did you ask such a question, anyway? It seems like your mind is already made up, and that all you want to do is enshrine your own hatred of Old Town Roads as the speakings of Music herself. I used to be like that with bluegrass. I hated bluegrass! I swore off the genre for most of my life, because I thought of it as inferior music that had nothing of value. Michael taught me to open my mind to all music, and sure enough, I’m now part of a bluegrass band. It’s still not my favorite genre, but I’ve come to appreciate the musicians who play it. After all, all genres are created equal by Music. Open your mind, and you shall see that, too. Editor’s Note: The beliefs of Mr. Wooten do not represent the views of Pelham PLUS.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Martinez

    I read this years ago and loved it. Not sure what's changed between then and now, but this time round I find myself wincing at all the fluffy psychology and spurious etymology. There are lots of interesting and useful ideas in The Music Lesson about how to be a better musician, but IMHO they'd be perfectly encapsulated in a 2,000-word essay and don't particularly demand a full-length book, especially when the good advice is so easily lost in extended passages of new-age mysticism. I read this years ago and loved it. Not sure what's changed between then and now, but this time round I find myself wincing at all the fluffy psychology and spurious etymology. There are lots of interesting and useful ideas in The Music Lesson about how to be a better musician, but IMHO they'd be perfectly encapsulated in a 2,000-word essay and don't particularly demand a full-length book, especially when the good advice is so easily lost in extended passages of new-age mysticism.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Ferreira

    The single greatest resource for inspiration, guidance & direction for any creative mind. An astounding achievement.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor

    I found this book and Victor Wooten separately but both completely by accident. Someone recommended Bela Fleck's Christmas album last December and I loved that. From there I found Wooten and bought tickets for his February L.A. show. Before that rolled around Audible had a sale on a few books and The Music Lesson was one of them. I thought "Woah Victor Wooten wrote a book!" Otherwise the trite-sounding title probably never would have made it into my shopping cart. The title and even the first co I found this book and Victor Wooten separately but both completely by accident. Someone recommended Bela Fleck's Christmas album last December and I loved that. From there I found Wooten and bought tickets for his February L.A. show. Before that rolled around Audible had a sale on a few books and The Music Lesson was one of them. I thought "Woah Victor Wooten wrote a book!" Otherwise the trite-sounding title probably never would have made it into my shopping cart. The title and even the first couple minutes of this book can be a little off-putting. A spiritual journey? How many times have I heard that phrase before? This may have been one of the most worthwhile books I've read in months. Victor Wooten shares his musical wisdom with the world in the form of a story that starts in reality (Bass player down on his luck, not getting gigs, tired of practicing) and slides into a magical fiction filled with a cast of characters that each has their own lesson to teach our narrator. I love the form of this book- if Wooten had just made it a dry lecture on musical advice it would have been boo-ring. Instead he chose to tell a story and the lessons carry a greater impact because of it. The book is divided into about ten parts: Groove, Notes, Articulation, Technique, Feel, Dynamics, Rhythm, Tone, Phrasing, and Space. Each section is not just discussed but demonstrated through analogy. My favorite analogy is the one he used for articulation- the mysterious teacher takes our narrator on a trip into the mountains where they look for animal foot prints. The foot prints show us what kind of animal it could have been, where it was going, what it was feeling, and where it came from. If only we thought of our notes in the same way! Notes and foot prints both leave behind a message- what kind of message would you leave? The whole story is filled with poignant analogies like that and a memorable cast of characters to help you separate out the different topics. One of the biggest points I got from this book was "Don't play your instrument. Play music!" So refreshing to hear. I improvise for fun occasionally but even as a classical musician I found a lot of heart and wisdom in this book. I highly highly recommend the audiobook version. Not only are there musical demonstrations of the things he talks about but also musical filler in each chapter that makes the whole book like a song. Hearing different voices for each character is great, too. If I were a teacher at a university I would require all my students to read this book. Of all the books I've read on becoming a better musician, this is one of my favorites.

  27. 4 out of 5

    03TristanH

    273 Pages Anyone who wants to play music should read this book. The main issue of the book is Victor trying to learn how to become a better musician As long as the time was relatively recent, the story would still be intact. Victor, the main character, is a confident, stern, and stubborn student, reluctant to learn and Micheal is a very interesting character who is infinitely wise and ready to teach. Victor is a young, struggling bassist who can't even pay his rent. Just when things are toughest, 273 Pages Anyone who wants to play music should read this book. The main issue of the book is Victor trying to learn how to become a better musician As long as the time was relatively recent, the story would still be intact. Victor, the main character, is a confident, stern, and stubborn student, reluctant to learn and Micheal is a very interesting character who is infinitely wise and ready to teach. Victor is a young, struggling bassist who can't even pay his rent. Just when things are toughest, he gets the blessing that he's been praying for. It's just not how or what he had imagined. One day, after a failed practice attempt, Victor is awoken mid-nap by a towering figure who is holding a skateboard. At fist, Victor is alarmed, but after a few minutes of conversation, Victor realizes that the man in his apartment is there to help him. They go on to have many teaching sessions. One of my favorites is when Michael introduces Victor to a homeless man named Uncle Clyde. Their lesson is cut short by an accident and the teachers spring into action and save the victim by the tone of their voices. They meet up again at the apartment and Clyde tells Victor of how short life actually is and that he better get to living. I really liked how the author related different parts of music to aspects of life. 161 "Doctors use lasers to operate. Music, in the right hands, can do the same thing." This confirms that music is more than just notes. 75 "are you using magic? Yes I am, It's called technique." Just another way to look at music. A theme of the book is "If you truly listen for music, She will listen for you. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Not just to people who are looking for musical enlightenment. It also has many good life lessons. The way that Victor relates aspects of music to aspects of life is just brilliant.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stefan Kanev

    Oh man, this book is great. Don't know how I picked it up (Amazon recommendation?), but definitely worth reading it. It's a bit hard to describe. It's a novel that tells the story of a fictional set of music lessons. The protagonist (the author) is napping on his couch after practicing his base, when he is woken up by a stranger entering his house, announcing "I'm your teacher". What follows is 200+ pages of conversations between them (and other characters) about music and musicianship. He's not Oh man, this book is great. Don't know how I picked it up (Amazon recommendation?), but definitely worth reading it. It's a bit hard to describe. It's a novel that tells the story of a fictional set of music lessons. The protagonist (the author) is napping on his couch after practicing his base, when he is woken up by a stranger entering his house, announcing "I'm your teacher". What follows is 200+ pages of conversations between them (and other characters) about music and musicianship. He's not exactly giving advice on what to do, but is much insight to be gained. It's hard to explain, without going into a lot of detail, so I won't even try. My favorite bit is this conversation, that gets repeated quite often: – Can you teach me how to do this? – I can't teach you anything. I can only show you, but you're the only one who can teach yourself. I think is a pretty good bit, applicable to a lot more than music :) Oh, and I just have to share this endorsement by none other than renowned saxophonist Michael Brecker: "It's the best book on music (and it's connection to the mystic laws of life) that I've ever read. I learned so much on every level." I'll definitely reread it at some point (or even try the audiobook). Can't recommend it more heartily if you're an amateur (or even professional) musician.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Brunell

    I was in love with this book right away...I read a few comments from people who felt the story was too simple and just wanted the information. In my mind, it is akin to Illusions by Richard Bach... Why I think this book is already shifting my thoughts is exactly because the story is the container letting the ideas bypass old information and ego challenges... I love simple anyway...perhaps I could say there are profoundly simple truths that deeply resonate and are making new connections. Its both I was in love with this book right away...I read a few comments from people who felt the story was too simple and just wanted the information. In my mind, it is akin to Illusions by Richard Bach... Why I think this book is already shifting my thoughts is exactly because the story is the container letting the ideas bypass old information and ego challenges... I love simple anyway...perhaps I could say there are profoundly simple truths that deeply resonate and are making new connections. Its both opening up new ideas, and bridging things that hadnt realized were connected before. In my mind, it is akin to Illusions by Richard Bach...you don't have to be musician to appreciate the story or the insights

  30. 4 out of 5

    Florencia Maceratini

    This book came to me as Michael to Victor, at the right time and the right place. I am an almost 40 years old cello beginner (I used to play the piano as a child) and I rarely ‘play’ music, I just study and practice. Only recently have I started feeling the groove within music and with Victor’s book I now feel compelled to feel music rather that practice my instrument. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to live and feel life and/or music instead of just passing by it/them. The book is as This book came to me as Michael to Victor, at the right time and the right place. I am an almost 40 years old cello beginner (I used to play the piano as a child) and I rarely ‘play’ music, I just study and practice. Only recently have I started feeling the groove within music and with Victor’s book I now feel compelled to feel music rather that practice my instrument. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to live and feel life and/or music instead of just passing by it/them. The book is as humble as Victor himself.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.