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The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  3,760 ratings  ·  333 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
Paperback, 275 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation (first published 2006)
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Jade no he's very definitely heterosexual, as you can tell music is a female and he's in a relationship with her. You might think thats weird but it's actu…moreno he's very definitely heterosexual, as you can tell music is a female and he's in a relationship with her. You might think thats weird but it's actually incredibly inspiring. Yes he describes a strange man named Michael who broke into his house as "Quite tall and mysterious" and yes he said that even though he literally broke into his house " The strangest part of all is that... I didn't want him to leave" hut he's very very definately straight, and just because when he described a man's eyes he said, "I remember his bright blue eyes as hypnotic. They had an immediate effect on me." but to him music is a GIRL and they are in a RELATIONSHIP he does NOT like men! He is only interested in women which is why he does not have a girlfriend/wife in the story.(less)

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Oct 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Suzanne Moore
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music-books
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
Dec 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: tried-to-read
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
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Gary Bryan
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
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 ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Feb 04, 2010 rated it liked it
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.

Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Joe Richards
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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,
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
Dawn Lennon
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, music
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
Tandava Brahmachari
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 25, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
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
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
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.
Brian Hutzell
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
Wooten has some valuable tips to offer but I found his advice diluted by the corny New Age framing story.
Tobin Elliott
May 22, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
I remember when I had the job at a bookstore of taking off the expired magazines and putting the new ones on. The sheer number of titles was overwhelming, so the store had the magazines grouped by topic. Cars. Sports. Entertainment.

And I remember the guy that was training me walked to a particular section and said, "this is the 'woo-woo' section." It was filled with conspiracy theory magazines, various different religion and spirituality magazines, and other stuff that was simply bizarre.

I can't
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Amy "the book-bat"
I just don't know what to say or how to rate this one
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 STARS. Excellent parallels between music and life. I would have enjoyed meeting Sam & Michael! ...more
Victor Chang
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carlos Martinez
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, music
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.
Jordan Ferreira
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The single greatest resource for inspiration, guidance & direction for any creative mind. An astounding achievement. ...more
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-review
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,
Stefan Kanev
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Lynn Brunell
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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Victor Lemonte Wooten is an American bass guitarist, record producer, educator, and recipient of five Grammy Awards. He has been the bassist for Béla Fleck and the Flecktones since the group's formation in 1988.

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“A politician is not allowed to get too emotional in public, so what he does is drop subtle hints that, over time, cause the public to get emotional. Once the same emotions are generated by enough people, the politician can use it to steer the public in his desired direction. Fear is an emotion that is often used this way. A smart politician knows that if he can create fear in enough people, those people will give up what they truly want in order to give the politician what he says they need.” 10 likes
“Never lose the groove in order to find a note.” 9 likes
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