Since the year 2000, I’ve been privileged to be on the Administrative and Instructional Staff at Victor Wooten’s Center for Music and Nature, near Nashville, TN. It has been a thrill to be part of the education of hundreds of Musicians from all around the world over the past 14 seasons. The camps are now open to Musicians of any instrument, ages 14-80+.
The camp started as “Bass/Nature Camp” catering exclusively to Bass players and was held at Montgomery Bell State Park. That beautiful setting became our ‘Home’ and was truly a special place. By 2009, we had moved to Wooten Woods, the 150 acre facility owned by Vic (and the bank), located about 60 miles west of Nashville in Only, TN. (Just down the road from, I am not making this up, Bucksnort, TN.)
In 2002, after two years as the Production Manager and chief go-fer at the camp, Victor asked Anthony Wellington and I to teach classes at the camp. Up to that point we had each been squeezing in one-on-one instruction with students when we weren’t making trips to the airport or moving equipment around. After the initial shock of being asked to be an Instructor I began to formally explore my notion of learning and playing Music completely as a Language. Of course, I’ve continued to refine the class and teach it at every Bass/Nature Camp.
In 2004, Steve Bailey asked me to teach a late-night Reading class at his ‘Bass at The Beach’ in Myrtle Beach, SC. (I was Production Manager for that week-long ‘camp’ as well.) That same year, I started adding that class to my teaching at Vic’s camps. The class is held after the evening activity at camp, sometimes not starting until after 11pm!
It was in 2009 that I began teaching my “Emotion in Music” class, developed for the Spirit of Music camp at Wooten Woods. Using film soundtracks, we explore emotional responses to the Music and do exercises in playing from emotional centers. Ah, the pictures we can create!
Teaching these classes has had a profound effect on me as Musician. Whether playing a casual date with a a Jazz trio or a concert with The Victor Wooten Band, I’ve been amazed at how differently I think about Music.
We are now into our 14th season of Vix Camps, and head into the woods this month for Music/Nature Camp. Music/Nature Jr. follows in June, a 3-wk Residency camp in July and Spirit of Music in September. Spots are open for all camps.
I strongly encourage you to visit VixCamps.com for more information and to register.
You may discover a profound effect on your life as a Musician, as well!
Check out this feature from Public Television’s “Tennessee Crossroads”…