Music as a Language: Victor Wooten at TEDxGabriolaIsland

It’s true I was born into a band,exceedingly literally, I mean that literally. When I was born, my four older brothers who were already playing music, knew that they needed a bass player( Laughter) to round out the family strip. I was born into that character. As I’m older I’m looking back right now , now that I’m called a teacher. When I look back on that, and how I was taught, I realized that I wasn’t really schooled. Which is why I say that music is a language; because if you think about your first language, for me, and perhaps most of us here might be English, so I’m just going to go with English. If you think about how you learned it, you recognise you weren’t taught it. Public simply spoke to you. But the coolest situation is where it gets concerning because you were allowed to speak back. If I take the music precedent, in most cases, our rookies are not allowed to play with the better parties. You’re stuck in the beginning class. You have to remain there a few years, until “you think youre” elevated to the intermediate, and then advanced; and after you alumnu the advanced class, you still have to go out and offer a lot of dues.

But with communication, to use a musical expression, even as a babe you’re “jamming” with professionals. All the time. To the notes that you don’t even know you’re a novice. No one speaks, “I can’t talk to you until– You got to go over there. When you’re older, then I can speak to you.”( Laughter) That doesn’t happen. No one tells you what you have to say. You’re not made to sit in a corner and rehearse. You’re never even rectified when you’re wrong. Repute about it: when you’re 2-3 years old, and you say a word incorrect over and over , no one corrects you. If you say it incorrect enough times, instead of rectifying you, your parents memorize your mode.( Laughter) And they start saying it wrong more! The coolest part of that is that you abide free, with how you talk. And so “youve never” have to follow the musical capacity of memorizing all these times and then, extending and knowing your voice. With your speaking expression, you’ve never lost it. No one ever cheated you of that. And so, when I was young that’s how I was discovering; I was memorizing English and music at the same experience and in the same way.

So I tell this is something that parties; I generally answer, “Yeah, I started when I was two or three.” And I say that merely because that’s more believable. But when did “youre starting” addressing English? Did you wait until you two are two or three? No. You were speaking, I’d perhaps respond, before birth. Whenever you could hear is when you probably started reading it. To me, that’s very, very cool, and exceedingly very clever of my brothers – my older brother, out of the five … I’m the youngest, Reggie is the oldest – He’s only eight years older than me.

So how he was this smart, I don’t know. That’s the real question. That should be the real TED talk. How he figured out the inventive channel of not teaching us, younger brethren, how to performance! He didn’t start me by putting a bass in my hands. No. The first thing they did was to play music around me from my earliest age that I can recollect. I can recollect living in Hawaii, my brothers would set up, and I can remember experiencing a plastic stool. A spate of epoches we’d put in in the figurehead ground where I can see a plastic stool, with a bit plastic doll, Mickey Mouse wind-up-guitar, laying on top of that stool.

No one had to tell me that that was for me. The same acces no one has to tell you when it’s your turn to talk. You know how to do it and so I knew that stool was for me. I knew that instrument was for me. It had plastic cords on it, you would wind it up, and it would play a hymn. But you couldn’t really play it from the cords, and it wasn’t about that. By the time I was old enough to hold relevant instruments, they gave me something to hold Just for the sake of accommodating something; readying me for the later years. It wasn’t about playing such an instrument. That’s the mistake a lot of us, music coaches stir: we educate kids how to play the instrument first, before they understand music.

You don’t teach a kid how to spell. Educating a kid to spell “milk” before they’ve been drinking a lot of it for a few years doesn’t make sense does it? But for some reason, we still think it does in music. We want to teach them the rules and international instruments first. But by the time I was about two, and they made that plaything in my hands, I was already very musical because I believe you’re born musical. Just listen to anybody’s expression. Listen to any child’s articulation. There’s no purer music than that. So my brothers somehow knew I was born musical, but they wanted me to be a bass player so when I was old enough, they made a plaything in my hands, and they would gambling. I would just rebound up and down and strum along, too. But the coolest thought about it, again, is it wasn’t about the instrument. I was discovering to play music not relevant instruments. And I resume that hopefully today. Again, what I did know was I knew what it propose when my brother opened up his high hat at the end of a four-bar phrase.

Or I learned these phrases versus that motto. The same space a baby knows what it entails when the mother invokes the tar of her singer versus the parent lowering the slope of his. You know these concepts, and even though you may not even understand what the word entails. And so you’re learning all these stuffs. By the time a baby can speak a real message, they know already a great deal about its own language. So I was memorizing music the same course. By the time I had international instruments in my hands, I was already extremely musical. When I would turn about 3 years old, Reggie took two strings off of one of his six-string guitars. He took the two high strings off, and that became my first real tool. So Reggie actually started educating me to throw my paw in certain places to cause tones to sungs I already knew. I wasn’t starting from the beginning. I was musical first. Now, I only had to placed that music through an instrument. And looking back on it now, I realize that’s how I learned to talk.

It wasn’t about memorizing the instrument firstly. Who cares about international instruments you talk with? It’s about what you have to say. I’ve always musically continued my own tone. I’ve always had something to say. And I’ve learned how to pronounce through my instrument. So if we think about a couple of things not being forced to practice , not being told what you have to say – I’m speaking English again – not being told what you have to say. When the educator teaches you a new word in English, she has you apply it into a sentence; in different contexts, right away.

A music teacher will tell you to go practice it. Practising employments but it’s a slower process than putting it into context. And we know that with English. And so this was the way I learned. As I grew older, about five years, we were actually on tour; the five of us. We were fortunate enough to be able to tour opening for a great being singer named Curtis Mayfield. So if I was five years old, my oldest brother was only 13. But when I think about it, we could speak good English at that age. Why not music? So I’ve always, since then, approached music just like a language, because I learned it at the same age and in the same road. The best part of it all is I’ve maintained something that little children are born with. And that’s freedom. A mint of us are talked out of our musical liberty, whenever it is firstly given a lesson.

Because we go to a teacher, and the schoolteacher rarely ever determines out why we came in the first place. A pile of durations, that kid playing that breeze guitar where there’s no right or wrong, it’s not about the right or wrong tones, it’s not about the instrument. They’re playing because it finds right. It’s the same channel and reason that you sing in the rain. Or when you’re driving to wield; you’re singing. You’re not singing because it’s the right greenbacks or you know the right magnitudes, you’re singing because it finds good. I spoke to a maiden at breakfast who suggested, “I’m Ella Fitzgerald when I’m in the rain! “( Laughter) And of course she’s right! So why does that change when a person outside starts to listen? That exemption grows lost as we grow and as we read, and we need to find a way to impede that freedom.

And it can be done! It’s not gone eternally. A minor playing breath guitar will play with a smile on their face. Hand them the first lesson, the smile going on around here. A mas of durations you have to work for your whole musical life to get that smile back. As schoolteachers, we can keep that smile, if we approach it the right way. And I reply approach it like a language; permit the student to keep the freedom. As I got older, a bit older, and my brothers and I started to tour and play video games a lot, my mummy would ask a question that I never understood truly until I went much older and had kids of my own. My Mom would question us boys, and she was saying, “What does the world require with another good musician? ” Fantasize about that. And I’m saying music, but insert your own career.

What does the world need with you? It really made me realize that now, as I’ve got older, music is more than merely different languages, music is a lifestyle. It’s my lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not talking about the lifestyle a lot of musicians extend. Because we can looked at at our musical heroes of the past and realize that the latter are great success in music, but just as immense flops in life. I could appoint a few of them, but I don’t want to upset anybody; but if we think about our heroes, a lot of them was exactly that. I think our parents were preparing us for something that we didn’t know at the time, but I envision she could see ahead. “What does the world necessary with another good musician? ” So we’re practicing all these hours. We rotated our whole house into a music chamber where all the neighborhood, all the state-wide musicians would show up. We would rehearsal, my mothers would spend money they didn’t have to make sure we had the next newest instrument.

Every Christmas, Santa would bring the newest concept. What was that about? Was it just so that we could make money? So that we could stand on stage and bask in the beauty? I recognize now, that it is much more than that. Music is my lifestyle. And now as I’m going into really investigating music, so that I could share it with other people in a teacher’s capacity, I realize that there’s a lot that we can learn from music and apply to our lives.

To be a good musician, you have to be a good listener. Doesn’t matter how great I am as a bassist, or any tool. Doesn’t matter how great I am. We can employ five members of the world’s best musicians on this stage. But if we’re great separate from each other, it’s going to tone shameful. But if we listen to each other and play together, individually, we don’t have to be as enormous, and it’ll announce much better. I was invited a couple times in a row to go to Stanford, in California, and taken together a musical team to address the incoming freshman class. And we were able to use music to give them an idea what the next four years of “peoples lives” might be like. It was fun use music to do it because music is a method that I can talk about anything that is able various kinds of knotty: politics, intolerance, equality, inequality, religion.

I can do it through music, and I’m still safe. We were able to pick someone out of the gathering who’d never played relevant instruments before. Frequently, it was a female; have her “re coming”, we’d fasten a bass around her neck, and then I would get the band playing. And as soon as the band starts playing, that person starts doing this.( Laughter) And I announce, “That’s music! ” If you listen to that bass, like any organ in a music store, when it’s sitting there, it doesn’t make a din. So if you crave music to come out of that, you have to put it there. And that groove that’s in your cervix, “youre supposed to” threw it in international instruments. So I exactly had her with her left to right squeeze the neck – because everyone knows how to impound an instrument, that’s not new – squeeze it and then, let your helping hand hop, on the string. She starts ricochetting on that memo, and the band kickings up around her. All of a sudden, she’s a bassist. More so, she’s a musician. A dancer never has to ask questions before they dance.

A singer doesn’t generally have to ask what key are we in. Musicians have to ask too many questions. So what that schooled me is that, “Wow! Because we’re great, she doesn’t have to know anything.”( Laughter) And all of a sudden, anyone who were to walk into the chamber and see this band with this newcomer on stagecoach , no one would know who was the newcomer.

So that let me know, “Wow! If I use my greatness in the right way, it can help others rise up quickly.” And the coolest thought about that whole circumstance in Stanford is she got to take the bass home!( Laughter) I investigated her recently, she is still a bassist so that’s great. Listening is a significant musical key that we can use for life, cooperating with each other, of course, being great to improve other beings grow enormous. When parties put you up on a pedestal, don’t come off the pedestal play like you’re humble. Stand up on that pedestal, because if they put you there that’s prove you how high-pitched they can see.

Stay there and pull them up. And they’ll thrive faster than if you come down. So we’re going to help these beings because we’re great. In music, usually, I’m not enormous until you say I am, anyway. They speak, “He’s won all these Grammy’s.” I can’t win anything without you all. One other thing my mama ever taught us is, “You boys are already successful. The residual of the world precisely doesn’t know it hitherto! ” I didn’t understand that then, but I actually, really supposed to do now. Truly swiftly, before I get out of here I merely require you to think about this: If I were to play two memoranda, Let’s articulate I play a C; – simply require you to use your imagery – if I play a C and a C-sharp right next to each other, it’ll likely sound like those documents clash; “Wrong! “, “Bad! ” But if I take the C up an octave, play the C-sharp and the C again.

All of a sudden, it voices beautiful. Same two mentions. That C becomes a major seventh to the C-sharp which is a key element that makes a chord almost too beautiful, too nice sounding. So how can the same two greenbacks sound bad and clash in one instance and beautiful in another? Just take that to life. When we see something bad, or awful, or gruesome in life, perhaps we’re just reviewing it in the wrong octave. Perhaps we could change our point of view. Actually, if you see something that’s wrong, you should know that you’re seeing it in the wrong octave and find a way to change your viewpoint. Or to use a musical word – change your octave. Countries clear projectile with the goals and targets of hurting people, instilling panic, killing people, proving a item. Countries, governments bless the bombard before they’re send. This happens from the top-down, the governmental forces down. This is our answer. Makes me is understood that the mixture may have to come from the bottom-up.

Is anyone working on a missile that makes people love you? Maybe a cupid bomb? I believe we already have it. It’s called Music. And each country had their own form of it. And it acts. It accompanies people together. You don’t have to know a stuff about it to get it. It’s a language. It’s a lifestyle. And it can save the world. My name is Victor Wooten. I’m a musician. And I hope you’ll connect me on the battleground.( Laughter) Thank you.( Applause ).

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