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Victor Wooten: Groove Workshop

4.8 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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(Sep 16, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Expanding on the groundbreaking concepts he introduced in his book, The Music Lesson 'A Spiritual Search For Growth Through Music, master bassist Victor Wooten lays out his unique philosophy of teaching and learning music in Groove Workshop, a 2008 DVD from Hudson Music. The two disc set features nearly five hours of material, including a complete master class where Victor, along with bassist/educator Anthony Wellington and six bass students, uses his personal experience and expertise to delve deeper into rarely discussed, yet vitally important, aspects of music making. While traditional music education focuses primarily on developing technique and note-perfect performance, professional musicians like Victor know that there's much more to making music than just playing the right notes. On Groove Workshop, Victor redefines the essential elements of music and demonstrates how to apply them in fresh, creative, musically relevant ways.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Victor Wooten, Anthony Wellington
  • Directors: Rob Wallis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Hudson Music
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001DPC4I2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,719 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick King on April 17, 2009
Format: DVD
Don't let the Master Class classification fool you. If you're thinking of taking up any instrument and know virtually nothing about music, watch this video first! This video was a complete reawakening to me of what I'm trying to do learning music. If you're reading this you probably, as I do, consider Victor Wooten among the top five living bass players. I hoped simply to watch the self analysis of a master performer. This video is vastly more than that. Wooten starts out with defining music as a form of communication and then asks, "How did you first learn to communicate?" He looks at the remarkable success rate of humans learning to speak a first language and compares it to the frustration for most people of approaching music classes. Do we ask a baby to recite the alphabet before we teach them their first words? Wooten asks the participants what notes are in a G minor key? He proceeds to play a bass solo in G minor using only notes NOT in G minor. Then he plays one in the G minor scale. The first solo sounds better. Wooten's point is that music is not about notes. Notes may actually be the least important part of playing music. This is one of the most thought provoking music lessons I've ever taken, primarily because it asks me to STOP THINKING when I'm playing. I LOVE this video.
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There are many aspects of musicianship that "go without saying". We don't talk about them, so growth occurs slowly (if at all). We can flounder for decades without ever becoming great players, never questioning why.

Victor and Anthony break these elements of music down in a very logical manner, allowing us as musicians to take a sober look at what we actually know and don't know. This can be a very shocking reality check, but it's also very inspiring.

The content is best suited for good bass players who want to grow into great bass players, but it is also applicable to beginning and intermediate bass players, and to musicians in general. Some exercises are strictly for bass players, but this video teaches music as a whole.

You won't learn how to play the VWB's funk-infused jazz from this series of lessons, but you will learn something more valuable -- how to make whatever you do more musical.

Victor's approach to learning music is unusual, but it's not radical. He does not attempt to replace the classic methods, but to supplement them. I would be skeptical if his teaching methods were radical, but they are simply based on observation of how music really works.
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Format: DVD
I purchased this DVD thinking that it would be an instructional video like Billy Shehan or Jaco Pastorius. Well, it was not what I expected, but it was much more. It seems that Victor Wooten does not put out a DVD that is just simply an instructional video. This DVD is perfect for someone who wants to look at playing bass in a whole new way. He really gets you thinking about the music itself, not just memorizing different finger patterns.
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I have debated quite a bit before buying this DVD. I was expecting five hours of Oprah and Dr. Phil style self-help one-liners. Well, there are plenty of one-liners on this DVD, but the vast majority of them actually make sense for real people. In between, the program is filled with useful and eyeopening exercises that any regular bass (or music) teacher is unlikely to assign.

The setting on this DVD is a class room with six bass-geeks, holding some very expensive Fodera and other assorted boutique basses, gawking at Victor and his assistant Anthony Wellington. The first sign that this DVD may offer something for bass playing mortals like myself is the first assignment: Victor has his disciples play something on their basses. For all the thousands of dollars that is sitting in their laps, most of them acually sound like crap! Good to know Victor isn't preaching for a selected audience of professional bassists with cum laude conservatory diplomas.

Victor then has his students make a Top Ten of the most important aspects of music, like "Choice of notes", "Groove", "Articulation", etc. Interestingly, the students come up with "Listening" as the last entry, and only after some prompting by Victor. Good point made right there.

Victor elaborates on all ten aspects, throwing in several great exercises, some of which I will definitely start using. For anyone who might think they will be watching a philosophy lecture, there are several "How to" segments during Q & A time at the end of the video. Funny that in the end, the bass geeks just want to know how Victor does that double thumb thing. Fortunately for them and us, Victor, being the cool guy that he is, doesn't show any disappointment that apparently technique (again) beats philosophy and is happy to oblige.
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To get right to the core of it, Victor Wooten is one of those very rare artists who is both stunningly talented and able to teach his art in a clear, understandable, and non-intimidating way that nonetheless will challenge the best student in the room. The only comparison I can make is Ansel Adams in photography, who similarly created both photographic masterpieces and educational works of great clarity and insight.

The workshop is more about practical philosophy for bass than specific techniques. He won't teach you slap and pop or tapping, nor will he do much with scales or arpeggios, but he will get you thinking about translating your techniques into an expression of you as an artist. This video is about breaking through the mechanical parts of bass playing and conveying music and emotion, and as a bassist bogged down in playing mechanically, I really benefitted from this.

While mostly centered on jazz, any bass player who gets to improvise or play more complex stuff will benefit from this.

Most of the things Victor teaches I never heard before, certainly not from teachers. I am not saying that this is an alternative to lessons or a complete way all unto itself; I am saying that this is another level of thinking to add to your total approach to music, and a very good one at that.

Well done, Victor. Much, much better than the Entwistle and Jaco videos, which while fun are limited by the reality that those two greats were not teachers. Victor Wooten talks about communicating with the bass, but he also communicates with words and example really well.
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