Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Roleplaying advice from Victor Wooten

It's not often that I get the opportunity to bring music and gaming together, so I'm going to relish this moment.


And here it is. I want you to watch this youtube clip of Mark Peric (friend of mine) and Victor Wooten (mentor and friend of Mark's) during a bass workshop. Mark's on the left and Victor's on the right. The sound quality isn't great, but that doesn't change a thing about their astonishing talent.

The RPG advice starts at around the 5:00 point. Skip through to it if you like, or listen through it. You won't be disappointed.

Victor has been Mark's hero for a number of years, and Mark helped organise the master class with Victor. And yet watch what Victor does. He identifies that Mark is a talent in his own right; he points out that his job as a bass player is to make the other musicians sound even better; and then he gives all the spotlight to Mark.

Now Victor has earned the right to show off. He's really that good. But he does better than that by working with Mark to create something bigger than either of them. He puts aside the individual goal for the sake of the audience and for the sake of Mark's participation in the performance. Victor's humility has turned a good performance into a great performance. These guys were making it up on the spot, performing for the audience, and enjoying the result for themselves. And when they inject humility into the activity, the end result is even better.

As gamers, we can learn from this. A gamer is a fusion of creator, performer and audience in much the same way as Victor in that clip. And here are the key points to learn from Victor Wooten.
1. Remember it's a group activity.
2. Step back from the spotlight and let other players take a solo.
3. Bring a crescendo to someone else's performance without taking it over. Add details to make them look good, rather than making you look good.
4. Enjoy the performance.

Sounds simple. And with Mark and Victor playing the background, it sounds good too.
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