In the summer of 2006 I was fortunate enough to attend Victor Wooten’s Bass/Nature Camp. It was an experience that hugely influenced my practice and performance mindset. Victor Wooten’s newest instructional DVD “Groove Workshop” is an extension of his teaching approach used at Bass/Nature Camp. It is nice to see Victor finding his voice as a teacher and tackling the huge task of teaching bass players concepts that have never been found in Instructional Books/DVD’s.
The DVD starts within an introduction by Victor explaining that music to him and most musicians is a language, and how this will relate to his teaching approach. The “elements of music”, as Victor says, can be broken up into 10 equal parts. The most frequently taught element is notes, number one on the list. Victor argues that notes are the main focus of almost every other instructional book or video and almost every theory class. Victor then breaks down the remaining 9 elements and spends time addressing all of them in a unique fashion.
This DVD is not for the bassist looking for another “chops and licks” bass instructional tool. The ideas and practice techniques are more conceptual than technical. Although, at the end of the program, Victor opens open to general questions. He takes the time to address one of his artificial harmonics technique and his double thumping approach.
This DVD was a real treat for me because it was a refresher course of what I learned at the camp. The material Victor presents, if taken seriously, can change your whole approach to not only groove playing, but soloing. Some of the highlights of the disc include Victor’s disappearing drummer exercise, forget the technique approach, and the emphasis he puts on Dynamics, Space/Rest, and Listening. I would highly recommend this Instructional DVD to any bass player, whether it is an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro. I suggest not trying to take the entire program (five hours and forty minutes) in at once. Instead, just go one element at a time until you are comfortable with the exercises. The elements can be skipped to via the chapters menu/button, which makes this a great practice tool for just pulling up one concept at a time. This DVD is a great summation of Victor’s clinic and camp teaching approach, and is a must have for not just bass players, but any musician looking for a fresh take on performing, grooving and improvising.
Note: Because of the content of this DVD, no transcription was necessary. After all, it is not about the notes.