Music as a language – Victor Wooten

Translator: Marcia de Brito
Reviewer: Ariana Bleau Lugo (Guitar music throughout) Music is a language. Both music and verbal languages
serve the same purpose. They are both forms of expression. They can be used as a way
to communicate with others. They can be read and written. They can make you laugh or cry, think or question, and can speak to one or many. And both can definitely make you move. In some instances, music works
better than the spoken word, because it doesn’t have
to be understood to be effective. Although many musicians agree
that music is a language, it is rarely treated as such. Many of us treat it as something that can only be learned
by following a strict regimen, under the tutelage of a skilled teacher. This approach has been followed
for hundreds of years with proven success,
but it takes a long time. Too long. Think about the first language
you learn as a child. More importantly,
think about how you learned it. You were a baby
when you first started speaking, and even though you spoke
the language incorrectly you were allowed to make mistakes. And the more mistakes you made, the more your parents smiled. Learning to speak was not something
you were sent somewhere to do only a few times a week. And the majority
of the people you spoke to were not beginners. They were already proficient speakers. Imagine your parents forcing you
to only speak to other babies until you were good enough
to speak to them. You would probably be an adult before
you could carry on a proper conversation. To use a musical term, as a baby, you were allowed
to jam with professionals. If we approach music
in the same natural way we approached our first language, we will learn to speak it
in the same short time it took to speak our first language. Proof of this could be
seen in almost any family where a child grows up
with other musicians in the family. Here are a few keys to follow
in learning or teaching music. In the beginning, embrace mistakes,
instead of correcting them. Like a child playing air guitar,
there are no wrong notes. Allow young musicians to play and perform with accomplished musicians on a daily basis. Encourage young musicians to play
more than they practice. The more they play the more
they will practice on their own. Music comes from the musician,
not the instrument. And most importantly, remember that a language works best when we have something interesting to say. Many music teachers never find out
what their students have to say. We only tell them
what they are supposed to say. A child speaks a language for years
before they even learn the alphabet. Too many rules at the onset,
will actually slow them down. In my eyes, the approach to music
should be the same. After all, music is a language too.