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

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,288 ratings  ·  141 reviews
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...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Berkley (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,467)
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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...more
Almie
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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....more
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...more
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...more
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,...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Kennyo
The engineer in me says, "Artsy-fartsy crap."
The wanna-be-musician in me says, "If only I could absorb this I might be a real musician!"

Victor Wooten is a stunningly talented musician who I rank with Ron Carter, Eugene Wright and Charles Mingus at the top of a remarkable heap of bass clef talent. All four of these men have shown that the music lies beyond the mechanics of manipulating an instrument. In The Music Lesson Wooten lays open for us those things that are masked rather than enlightened...more
Troy Rodgers
There is an old saying, "When the student is ready, the master will appear." That's how this book is setup, with the author's teacher showing up to teach a professional bass player how to play music, and that's how this book found its way to me. It was the right message at the right time, and there is simply not enough I can say about it that will sing its praises properly.

There are a great many self-help books out there, just as there are a great many musical instruction books and books on fund...more
Enoch
Victor Wooten takes you on a simple journey of discovery and understanding of music and how it infuses itself in everyday life. This eye opening journey applies to musicians as well as everyday individuals looking to enhance their lives by seeing the world for something bigger than it is. This book is infused with personal insight from on of the greatest bass players and musicians of our age. A must read for any musician looking to expand their understanding.
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.
Connie
This might have been too much happiness and good feeling for me...too much a feeling of hippy love or something. It also reminded me too much of The Shack. Some good points In the book. Definitely some points to ponder...but just too much sugary sweetness for my palate...I shall have to ponder this one a bit....
Michael Carlson
While this could be read in book form it really shines as an audiobook. You can hear the various characters as different voices and there is a musical background or accompaniment throughout. The title describes the book: it is a music lesson that is more than a music lesson. It is no less than a spiritual search or path for growth in life, not just music.
I have great respect for Wooten's singular talent as a musician. The book is not a "how to," it's elliptical, strange, and fantastic. But if yo...more
Andy
What an amazing, and very odd at times, book! I highly recommend this for any musicians, want to be musicians, or just lovers of music.

It's odd to think that the author would write a fiction book about learning to play music, but he did. It's both very entertaining, and demonstrates well the authors unique approach to music.

Like many many reviews mentioned before, the story has a very Carlos Castaneda-ish "Shaman/magician floats into your life, teaches you all you need to know, then floats out"...more
Kathleen
I feel like I need to qualify my rating, because some of the ideas in the book are actually really good. It's the execution of the book, from the author's tone to even some of the less-important content, that really earns my emphatic thumbs down. When the front advance praise says, "The Carlos Castañeda of music," I should have known better than to pick the book up in the first place. I've never been a big fan of Castañeda's work. The Music Lesson had, however, been recommended to me by a friend...more
Dgfletch
This is a strange and strangely significant book. I picked it up on impulse at the 5th Ave B & N while looking for a book by Edward Said. The mushy metaphysical hints of the intro and the disconcerting address to the reader as U, almost had me returning it, but noting that the author is a musician of a pretty high order, I persisted. The lessons learned and passed on in the book are all fundamental and difficult -- worthwhile in other words. The stories used to convey them are maddeningly m...more
Todd
I read the original print of this book, prior to the deal with Berkley Trade (in case anyone questions why my "read" date comes before the publish date)

I was a bit turned off by the sub-title. I have very little interest in the spiritual perspective of the world's greatest bass player.

I was grateful that I could read the first chapter online, which sets the tone for the entire book.

The Music Lesson is a fun, entertaining exploration of music from a fictional perspective. There are many important...more
Tom Huguelet
I'm actually not sure how I feel about this book yet.

It is similar to one of my favorite books of all time, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which opens with "What follows is based on actual occurrences. Although much has been changed for rhetorical purposes, it must be regarded in its essence as fact."

What I like about this book is that it asks higher-level questions about music (primarily creating it, but also listening & appreciating it). It's not a technique book, it's an attit...more
Spectacles
A Persistant Connection Between Music and Life: a review of Victor Wooten’s The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music

Something very different. I would recommend this book to anyone. Don’t be struck down by the title or the fact that it’s a book about music by a musician. This book will alter the way you look at music. If you are a musician, it will change the way you play/approach music; if you aren’t, it will change your appreciation of music and the way you experience music...more
Christina
I've been a fan of Victor's music for many years, and I was excited to read his book. I didn't expect terrific writing, and I didn't get it. I did, however, expect terrific ideas about music, which I did get -- over and over.

Wooten visits and explores the relationship between spirituality and Music (I'll capitalize because he does), and discovers that Music itself can be a form of spirit. Through his eccentric (ultimately real?) teacher, Michael, he learns an appreciation for Music as more than...more
Naeem
Jun 01, 2008 Naeem rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Naeem by: kamal
The premise is a bit far fetched and the writing a bit plain, but it works. A character with magical abilities and deep wisdom appears to Victor Wooten and takes him through a series of experiences and exercises which demonstrate that playing music is far, far more than technique; that an engagement with music is an engagement with the deepest aspects of meaning, spirit, and power; and that thinking about, playing, and listening to music are always ways of living life.

I am partial to the pedago...more
Holly
Yeah... no. There were lots of good lessons to be had in this book, but the storyline was weird, unnecessary and distracting. I really wanted to stop reading this book half-way through, but kept forcing myself to keep going, hoping it would be worth it in the end. But no, it actually got worse as it went on. I guess if you're really into self-help, new age-y type books you may like this, as clearly a lot of people have given it good ratings, but it most definitely was not for me.
Dhruv
The book deals with Wooten's transition from being a 'bass player' to a 'musician', brought about his interaction with Michael, Sam, Uncle Cylde and Isis. The book has many interesting ideas for musicians to understand the essence of various musical elements, without getting deep into traditional music theory concepts. A good read for anyone looking for musical motivation and philosophical insight into the art of music.
Matthew
Victor Wooten is an amazing musician.

There are very few books I am sorry to have read. This is in that category. The combination of pedantry and dis-ingenuousness exhibited by the author with the credulity and reverence demanded of the reader made the whole experience something I wouldn't wish on anybody.

The writing is not quite primitive, but often awkward.

Do anything rather than read this book.
Jeff
The title of this book says what it's all about - a spiritual search for growth. In that context, I loved this book, and will recommended to anyone seeking a spiritual path through their music practice. This isn't a book that's going to teach you anything, or give you technical tips on how to be a better musician. This book is all about using music to expand your beingness - who you are as a complete human being.

Wooten admits that what he describes in this book may have never happened - it may b...more
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