Placeholder Image

字幕表 動画を再生する

  • Thank you very much.

  • It's true I was born into a band;

  • very literally, I mean that literally.

  • When I was born, my four older brothers who were already playing music,

  • knew that they needed a bass player

  • (Laughter)

  • to round out the family band.

  • I was born into that role.

  • As I'm older I'm looking back right now, now that I'm called a teacher.

  • When I look back on that, and how I was taught,

  • I realized that I wasn't really taught.

  • Which is why I say that music is a language;

  • because if you think about your first language,

  • for me, and probably most of us here might be English,

  • so I'm just going to go with English.

  • If you think about how you learned it, you realize you weren't taught it.

  • People just spoke to you.

  • But the coolest thing is where it gets interesting

  • because you were allowed to speak back.

  • If I take the music example,

  • in most cases, our beginners are not allowed to play with the better people.

  • You're stuck in the beginning class.

  • You have to remain there a few years,

  • until you are elevated to the intermediate, and then advanced;

  • and after you graduate the advanced class,

  • you still have to go out and pay a lot of dues.

  • But with language,

  • to use a musical term, even as a baby you're "jamming" with professionals.

  • All the time.

  • To the point that you don't even know you're a beginner.

  • No one says, "I can't talk to you until-- You got to go over there.

  • When you're older, then I can speak to you."

  • (Laughter)

  • That doesn't happen.

  • No one tells you what you have to say.

  • You're not made to sit in a corner and practice.

  • You're never even corrected when you're wrong.

  • Think about it: when you're 2-3 years old, and you say a word wrong over and over,

  • no one corrects you.

  • If you say it wrong enough times,

  • instead of correcting you, your parents learn your way.

  • (Laughter)

  • And they start saying it wrong too!

  • The coolest part of that is that you remain free,

  • with how you talk.

  • And so you never have to follow the musical role of learning

  • all these years and then, going and finding your voice.

  • With your speaking voice, you've never lost it.

  • No one ever robbed you of that.

  • And so, when I was young that's how I was learning;

  • I was learning English and music at the same time

  • and in the same way.

  • So I tell this to people; I usually say, "Yeah, I started when I was two or three."

  • And I say that just because that's more believable.

  • But when did you start speaking English?

  • Did you wait until you were two or three?

  • No.

  • You were speaking, I'd probably say, before birth.

  • Whenever you could hear is when you probably started learning it.

  • To me, that's very, very cool, and very very clever of my brothers

  • - my oldest brother, out of the five...

  • I'm the youngest, Reggie is the oldest -

  • He's only eight years older than me.

  • So how he was this smart, I don't know. That's the real question.

  • That should be the real TED talk.

  • How he figured out the ingenious way

  • of not teaching us, younger brothers, how to play!

  • He didn't start me by putting a bass in my hands.

  • No.

  • The first thing they did was to play music around me

  • from my earliest age that I can remember.

  • I can remember living in Hawaii,

  • my brothers would set up, and I can remember seeing a plastic stool.

  • A lot of times we'd set up in the front yard

  • where I can see a plastic stool,

  • with a little plastic toy, Mickey Mouse wind-up-guitar,

  • laying on top of that stool.

  • No one had to tell me that that was for me.

  • The same way no one has to tell you when it's your turn to talk.

  • You know how to do it and so I knew that stool was for me.

  • I knew that instrument was for me.

  • It had plastic strings on it, you would wind it up, and it would play a song.

  • But you couldn't really play it from the strings, and it wasn't about that.

  • By the time I was old enough to hold an instrument,

  • they gave me something to hold Just for the sake of holding something;

  • preparing me for the later years.

  • It wasn't about playing that instrument.

  • That's the mistake a lot of us, music teachers make:

  • we teach kids how to play the instrument first, before they understand music.

  • You don't teach a kid how to spell.

  • Teaching a kid to spell "milk"

  • before they've been drinking a lot of it for a few years

  • doesn't make sense does it?

  • But for some reason, we still think it does in music.

  • We want to teach them the rules and the instruments first.

  • But by the time I was about two, and they put that toy in my hands,

  • I was already very musical because I believe you're born musical.

  • Just listen to anybody's voice. Listen to any child's voice.

  • There's no purer music than that.

  • So my brothers somehow knew I was born musical,

  • but they wanted me to be a bass player

  • so when I was old enough, they put a toy in my hands,

  • and they would play.

  • I would just bounce up and down and strum along, too.

  • But the coolest thing about it, again, is it wasn't about the instrument.

  • I was learning to play music not an instrument.

  • And I continue that hopefully today.

  • Again, what I did know was I knew what it meant

  • when my brother opened up his high hat at the end of a four-bar phrase.

  • Or I learned these phrases versus that phrase.

  • The same way a baby knows what it means

  • when the mother raises the pitch of her voice

  • versus the father lowering the pitch of his.

  • You know these things,

  • and even though you may not even understand what the word means.

  • And so you're learning all these things.

  • By the time a baby can speak a real word,

  • they know already a lot about the language.

  • So I was learning music the same way.

  • By the time I had the instrument in my hands, I was already very musical.

  • When I would turn about three years old,

  • Reggie took two strings off of one of his six-string guitars.

  • He took the two high strings off, and that became my first real instrument.

  • So Reggie actually started teaching me

  • to put my finger in certain places to produce notes

  • to songs I already knew.

  • I wasn't starting from the beginning. I was musical first.

  • Now, I just had to put that music through an instrument.

  • And looking back on it now, I realize that's how I learned to talk.

  • It wasn't about learning the instrument first.

  • Who cares about the instrument you talk with?

  • It's about what you have to say.

  • I've always musically maintained my own voice.

  • I've always had something to say.

  • And I've learned how to speak through my instrument.

  • So if we think about a couple of things

  • not being forced to practice, not being told what you have to say

  • - I'm speaking English again - not being told what you have to say.

  • When the teacher teaches you a new word in English,

  • she has you put it into a sentence; in the context, right away.

  • A music teacher will tell you to go practice it.

  • Practicing works but it's a slower process than putting it into context.

  • And we know that with English.

  • And so this was the way I learned.

  • As I grew older, about five years old, we were actually on tour; the five of us.

  • We were fortunate enough to be able to tour

  • opening for a great soul singer named Curtis Mayfield.

  • So if I was five years old, my oldest brother was only 13.

  • But when I think about it, we could speak good English at that age.

  • Why not music?

  • So I've always, since then, approached music just like a language,

  • because I learned it at the same time and in the same way.

  • The best part of it all

  • is I've maintained something that little children are born with.

  • And that's freedom.

  • A lot of us are talked out of our musical freedom,

  • when we are first given a lesson.

  • Because we go to a teacher,

  • and the teacher rarely ever finds out why we came in the first place.

  • A lot of times, that kid playing that air guitar

  • where there's no right or wrong,

  • it's not about the right or wrong notes, it's not about the instrument.

  • They're playing because it feels right.

  • It's the same way and reason that you sing in the shower.

  • Or when you're driving to work; you're singing.

  • You're not singing because it's the right notes

  • or you know the right scales,

  • you're singing because it feels good.

  • I spoke to a lady at breakfast who said,

  • "I'm Ella Fitzgerald when I'm in the shower!"

  • (Laughter)

  • And of course she's right!

  • So why does that change when someone outside starts to listen?

  • That freedom becomes lost as we grow and as we learn,

  • and we need to find a way to keep that freedom.

  • And it can be done!

  • It's not gone forever.

  • A kid playing air guitar will play with a smile on their face.

  • Give them the first lesson, the smile goes away.

  • A lot of times you have to work for

  • your whole musical life to get that smile back.

  • As teachers, we can keep that smile, if we approach it the right way.

  • And I say approach it like a language;

  • allow the student to keep the freedom.

  • As I got older, a little bit older,

  • and my brothers and I started to tour and play a lot,

  • my mom would ask a question that I never understood really

  • until I got much older and had kids of my own.

  • My Mom would ask us boys,

  • and she was saying, "What does the world need

  • with another good musician?"

  • Think about that.

  • And I'm saying music, but insert your own career.

  • What does the world need with you?

  • It really made me realize that now, as I've got older,

  • music is more than just a language, music is a lifestyle.

  • It's my lifestyle.

  • Don't get me wrong: I'm not talking about the lifestyle a lot of musicians lead.

  • Because we can look back at our musical heroes of the past

  • and realize that they were huge successes in music,

  • but just as huge failures in life.

  • I could name a few of them, but I don't want to upset anybody;

  • but if we think about our heroes, a lot of them were like that.

  • I think our parents were preparing us for something

  • that we didn't know at the time, but I think she could see ahead.

  • "What does the world need

  • with another good musician?"

  • So we're practicing all these hours.

  • We turned our whole house into a music room

  • where all the neighborhood, all the state-wide musicians would show up.

  • We would practice,

  • my parents would spend money they didn't have

  • to make sure we had the next newest instrument.

  • Every Christmas, Santa would bring the newest thing.

  • What was that about?

  • Was it just so that we could make money?

  • So that we could stand on stage and bask in the glory?

  • I realize now, that it is much more than that.

  • Music is my lifestyle.

  • And now as I'm going into really studying music,

  • so that I could share it with other people in a teacher's role,

  • I realize that there's a lot that we can learn from music

  • and apply to our lives.

  • To be a good musician, you have to be a good listener.

  • Doesn't matter how great I am as a bassist, or any instrument.

  • Doesn't matter how great I am.

  • We can put five of the world's best musicians on this stage.

  • But if we're great separate from each other,

  • it's going to sound horrible.

  • But if we listen to each other and play together,

  • individually, we don't have to be as great,

  • and it'll sound much better.

  • I was invited a couple years in a row to go to Stanford, in California,

  • and put together a musical team to address the incoming freshman class.

  • And we were able to use music to give them an idea

  • what the next four years of their life might be like.

  • It was fun using music to do it because music is a way

  • that I can talk about anything that could be kind of touchy:

  • politics, racism, equality, inequality, religion.

  • I can do it through music, and I'm still safe.

  • We were able to pick someone out of the audience

  • who'd never played an instrument before.

  • Usually, it was a female;