Victor Wooten

Visiting Scholar in Performance Studies

Victor Wooten started playing bass before the age of 5, the story goes, because his four older brothers needed a bassist for their band. Soon he was touring with the Wooten Brothers Band, eventually opening concerts for Curtis Mayall and other greats. From that early start, Wooten, born in 1964, grew into a renowned bassist, sometimes called the top bass player in the world. One of the founders of the Flecktones and a five-time Grammy winner, Wooten is a performer, recording artist, and dedicated educator. His Victor Wooten/Berklee Summer Bass Workshop and his Center for Music and Nature near Nashville, Tennessee, help foster the next generation of bass players and other musicians.

Wooten, who was born in Idaho, comes from an Air Force family that moved frequently when he was small. All of his older brothers were musicians, teaching music to young Wooten by the age of 2. After high school in Newport News, Virginia, he moved to Nashville where he met banjo genius Béla Fleck and started the collaboration that continues today. Besides Grammys, Wooten’s awards include three consecutive awards as Top Bassist from Bass Player magazine and inclusion in the Top 10 Bassists of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. He has many solo albums, albums with Bass Extremes and the Flecktones, and produces on his own label, Vix Records. He has also written a novel, The Music Lesson.

Wooten's educational philosophy was voiced in a improvisational workshop at Berklee in 2013 when he said that a good teacher must embrace learning just as the students do: “If you’re not inspired, your eyes are closed.”