I have always been a fan of jazz music, but the thought of learning the craft from a professional excited me. Hence, I surfed through the internet to find an online course on learning jazz.
I found out that one of the greatest pianists of all time Herbie Hancock is a legit handling course in MasterClass. Herbie Hancock is an inspiration for many music aspirants worldwide, and I decided to take it.
In this article, I share my experience of taking Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass, explaining the lessons in his MasterClass, the pros & cons, who it is best suited for, and many more in detail.
I also share the final verdict – “Is Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass worth it?” in the end.
Well, here’s a quick summary of the Herbie Hancock MasterClass in case you’re in hurry.
Quick Summary 🎹
I have compiled the best takeaways from Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass in a short summary.
You’ll get to learn the following:
- Meaning of jazz
- Improvisation and harmonisation
- How to reharmonize a music
- Basics of piano and important exercises
- Life of a composer in the music industry
Suitable for: Anyone who loves the art of music and is willing to explore the subject in-depth. Though the course is focused on jazz learning, it is helpful to all music aspirants.
Number of lessons and time taken: This MasterClass has 25 lessons. It will take around 4 hours to complete it.
Quick verdict: The course breaks down complex concepts into simple learning techniques. Like, piano lessons, basic exercises, learning by listening, harmonization tools, and many more. It is the one place where you can learn about everything related to music, even if you are a complete beginner.
What is MasterClass?
Before we get into the details about Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass, let’s have a look at what MasterClass is actually and how it is going to help you out. MasterClass is an online learning platform that allows people to learn new things from their favorite celebrities. The best part about MasterClass is that all the instructors are famous celebrities who are really good in their fields.
Some of the famous celebrities are Gordon Ramsay, Natalie Portman, Stephen Curry, Hans Zimmer, Alicia Keys, Penn & Teller, Tony Hawk, Dan Brown, and so on. In these MasterClass courses, you can find multiple videos and a workbook that helps you develop the skills you will learn from the videos.
Note: We have done a detailed review of MasterClass, which has all the info on this platform.
Herbie Hancock: Who is he?
Herbie Hancock is a prolific pianist who has earned his name in the world of Jazz.
In 1963, he started his career by joining the Miles Davis Quintet, which eventually dropped him numerous opportunities and recognition across the world.
Hancock collaborated with multiple artists like Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, and many more in the music industry, making him one of the best musicians.
In fact, he has composed for films, played with disco music, and created various universal tones in the jazz category. I always loved jazz music, and he has excelled at it to a different level.
He has been honored with several awards, which also landed him a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Herbie Hancock MasterClass Review: In a Nutshell 🥜
Well, I’d say Herbie Hancock handled his MasterClass course on Jazz pretty well.
Firstly, let me cover the key takeaways from his MasterClass, giving insight before starting in-depth about the course. You get introduced to various concepts like the human approach towards music, learning music by listening, and the basics of piano lessons. I swear, there’s more.
If you think that the lessons will be of formal learning and no example, you are most certainly wrong because Herbie uses several case studies to decode musical harmonization.
There is no limitation in MasterClass because it is filled with various categories like music, sports, business, and many more. Some of the famous instructors are Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing For Television, James Patterson Teaches Writing, Steve Martin Teaches Comedy, Penn and Teller Teach The Art Of Magic, and many more.
The best part about his MasterClass was the Jam Session which was a great way to engage with students while in the process of learning and teaching simultaneously.
His MasterClass is quite long, split into 25 lessons that can take up to a watch-time of 4 hours. With the 164 paged workbook, it’ll be fun learning while taking the lessons.
The workbook contains several helpful transcriptions, easy assignments, and summaries of each lesson in the course, which will be incredibly helpful to dissect the course in various parts.
Lastly, Hancock discusses his lifestyle, work culture, and significant experiences, which can be considered a motivational act from the instructor because I looked at it that way.
Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass Lessons Explained 📖
You know the name, the course, the title but the lessons? I am sure you would want to know some in-depth information about what it’s like to take the lessons in Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass.
Now, I will categorize each lesson with a definitive explanation of the things I have learned and the things Herbie has taught in each lesson.
Shall we begin?
1. Introduction to Jazz
In the introduction section, Herbie initiates the MasterClass by listing the musical aspects that he’ll be covering, like rhythms, chords, developing sounds, and more. It was great that he decided to tell his students about this before starting the lessons instead of blindly teaching them about it.
“Life is not about finding your limitations; it's about finding your infinity.”
Usually, you don’t know what will be taught next in other introductory courses, but MasterClass does it differently, making it another reason to like it. He promises that in the upcoming lessons, you’ll be able to progressively learn as he has broken down the bits and pieces of learning music.
I got super pumped to know this and gathered my notebook to start taking the next lesson. He also unravels the pure definition of jazz to easy understanding, which was brilliant.
NOTE: Though the MasterClass is about Jazz, Herbie Hancock covers overall music learning.
2. Starting, Improving & Learning
I have piled up three lessons into this section. He explains how jazz is like a conversation between two musicians where it eventually resonates with the audience, the process of improvisation, and the easiest way of learning is by listening; I know the list is long.
There was so much to learn from Herbie, especially when it comes to the core part of the music.
“Music happens to be an art form that transcends language”.
He beautifully crafts up the art of understanding music in various components, which feels like setting a foundation to a building of no base where the building can be personified as you and the foundation as Herbie’s teachings.
Although I felt some theoretical lessons were added, the conceptual matters were a little too much to take in for a beginner. At least for me.
Then he talks about improvisation and how essential it is for a musician to improve by performing alone. That is something Herbie advises his students to do in order to understand the assignment.
About the part where he says listening is the best way to learn something, I agreed with him because I used to listen and observe what people are doing and try to imitate them as a kid.
Applying the same ideology can help in numerous ways. Like, he legit tells you to copy your inspirations wherein you get the hang of their word, which can be an extra practice.
3. Jamming with the instructor
MasterClass has stepped ahead and included a fun way to learn along with the instructor, where they have added jamming sessions, usually not found in other music-related courses.
You get two excellent jamming sessions with Herbie Hancock. He invites guests and the session and lets them perform while carefully teaching you about various aspects of the process.
“I don't look at music from the standpoint of being a musician; I look at it from the standpoint of being a human being.”
This leads to a proper understanding of the subject while the performance itself. Like, he pin-points about baseline, the beats, and some musical terms which I wasn’t very much familiar with.
I’d recommend jamming along with the instructor, but remember that it is still a learning course and not some Herbie Hancock YouTube video. Pay attention to the teachings accurately.
You get to an inclusive view of his work like Maiden Voyage, Watermelon Man, and Oleo, which was impressive and informative as he breaks down the process behind those masterpieces.
4. Working & Composing
The lessons talk about starting with whatever you know already because eventually, you’ll get the grip of it. Herbie says that it is essential to take an instrument and go with the flow instead of waiting for that magical tune to randomly come to you. It was motivating, for real.
“Creativity and artistic endeavors have a mission that goes far beyond just making music for the sake of music”
Then he takes us through his work life about being a composer and constantly dealing with copyrights, owning music, and various collaborations. If you are a fan of Herbie Hancock, this section will give insight into a composer.
You also get to learn tips on releasing your own music, which can be incredibly helpful if you’re struggling to set foot in the music fraternity. He gradually talks about his past experiences, like writing music for commercials, television, and movies interesting.
5. Ending the note
Lastly, Herbie bids goodbye to his students towards the end, but there are quite some lessons about harmonization, learning harmony in jazz, and chord voicings.
“Jazz is about being in the moment.”
The chord voicings give detailed information on harmonized notes, inverted voicings, and several chordal progressions. Some harmonization lessons were top-notch and gave an idea of practicing reharmonization, which was much-needed advice for all beginners.
He also shares some expanded improv techniques that can transform a small silly idea into a musical masterpiece. He encourages his students to take his lessons and put them into action.
What did I like about Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass?
The MasterClass handled by Herbie Hancock was more than a course. It was a musical show with extra learning, is what I felt. There were few things which I liked about the course which I’ll be sharing:
📕 Resourceful workbook
The workbook provided along with the course was very helpful as I was able to keep track of Herbie’s teachings because sometimes you might feel like falling back, but with the help of the workbooks, it might not feel like an issue.
🎹 Past experiences
It was great to know about Herbie’s past experiences in becoming a successful musician because not every instructor will take the time and talk about their past experience.
I was glad that Herbie considered including this as a part of his lessons as the course did not feel only subject-oriented but a mix of everything, including Herbie’s past experiences.
🎯 Useful for all
The MasterClass was flexible enough to be taken by anyone from beginner level to advanced level. It could teach new aspects in learning music and included few materials from professionals in the field that music teachers typically overlook.
How much does Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass cost? 💰
If you are new to taking courses in MasterClass, well, let me explain the interesting plan that MasterClass has for its enthusiastic students where they offer an All-Access Pass at the price of $180/- per year (billed at $15/- per month) which is a great deal to make the best use of MasterClass.
Initially, MasterClass had two plans where a student can opt for a single course or buy an annual subscription plan that seemed decently fair, but now, we have a better option to choose from.
With an All-Access Pass, you’ll be able to access 100+ courses in MasterClass by paying for one course, which I feel is an incredible deal to make use of.
Let me share my experience using the All-Access Pass, where I took two additional music-related courses alongside Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass. I was able to learn film scoring by Hans Zimmer and a course on singing handled by Christina Aguilera as well. You should try too.
Who is Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass best suited for?
Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass is most likely recommended to several sets of music aspirants.
If you like music but do not know the technical terms and fundamentals about it in-depth, I’d suggest taking an online course to learn the craft better and improve.
One such course is Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass, where you get to learn about chord voicings, harmonization tools, improvisation, piano basics, and many more about music.
The course is best suited to anyone seeking help in learning jazz and someone who is struggling to learn the art of music because Herbie Hancock covers all genres under one roof.
- Learn 🎹 Jazz Music
- Understand Music From A Legend’s Perspective
- Easy To Understand Lessons
Is Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass unique? 🔥
To straight up answer this question, I’d say Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass might be unique because there are countless courses on learning instruments or a style. Still, it doesn’t usually explain personal experiences or show any evidence on topping the charts.
In his MasterClass, Herbie shares every detail of his learnings, the mistakes he made, and also some kickass tips for you to get going with the lessons, which I loved about the course.
Unlike other courses, you get to learn from a person who has had multiple hits, which can be a different experience if you are considering becoming a renowned musician someday.
How Long Does It Take To Finish This MasterClass?
The length of this course is just four hours and 23 minutes. You can either finish in a day or a week; it depends on your learning speed. But I would suggest you give this course at least 2-3 weeks to get the best results out of it. This way, you can get in deep into the workbook of this course and learn & try the techniques which Herbie teaches in the course.
You can practice the according to the lessons, or you can mix it up with your own technique to get the best results. If you are a complete beginner, then you should give this course at least 4-5 weeks to get the best knowledge of Jazz. It completely depends on how soon you can finish the course because the goal of this course is to help you find your own voice.
Alternatives to Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass:
If you are still battling with the confusion of choosing some other course over Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass, I got you. While searching for music-related courses online, I found many courses in MasterClass itself.
It felt such a relief for me because, with an All-Access Pass, I’ll be able to access it all without spending a single penny additionally. Let me quickly list down the alternatives.
- Hans Zimmer MasterClass
- Christina Aguilera MasterClass
- Timbaland MasterClass
- Jake Shimabukuro MasterClass
- Usher MasterClass
- Tom Morello MasterClass
- Alicia Keys MasterClass
- Carlos Santana MasterClass
More than alternatives, I’d suggest you go through each course because it helps build and develop multiple skills simultaneously, from singing to playing guitar to electronic music to many more. MasterClass has made sure to compile a dedicated collection for all the music aspirants.
Pros & Cons of Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass:
Every learning platform on the internet has its fair share of perks and downsides. Likewise, I noticed a few things in Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass, which I will share below:
- Experience of learning from a professional.
- In-depth teaching about music in general.
- Helpful and clear workbooks.
- Inspiring and motivating.
- No proper flow of lessons.
- Confusing at times.
Final verdict on Herbie Hancock MasterClass Review (2023)
Herbie Hancock made an excellent course for all the jazz lovers who would want to learn it better, but few things might seem not so good. I felt that.
Though the course opened up new concepts and phrases about jazz music to beginners, certain terms and musical notes seem complex and hard to grasp as a beginner.
Apart from that, the jamming sessions, fun interviews, helpful workbooks, insightful tips, and many more inside the course were worth the money. Also, with the All-Access Pass, I took other MasterClass courses as well, so it was relevant for me since I took similar courses on music.
As a whole, the course was great, but I’d suggest you take another course related to the subject and wrap up all the learnings to get a clear picture.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass?
Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass is 4 hours long. It has like 25 modules to cover.
How to get Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass for free?
Unfortunately, Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass is not for free, but you can try the 30-day refund policy for a month.
What can you learn in Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass?
You’ll be able to learn various aspects of jazz music, piano basics, harmonization lessons, how to find your voice, and many more in Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass.
How much is Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass?
Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass is a subscription module of $180/- per year, billed as $15/- per month.
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