If you’re into music and want to elevate your jazz skill, Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass might offer you an excellent solution. What better way to learn than having a jazz legend with over 30 awards teach you his industry secrets?
However, with the various online classes about jazz today, it’s good to weigh your options and ensure to get the most suitable for you. That said, what can you expect to learn in this course? What difference can it give you compared to those you can access for free?
If you want to get to know this class on a deeper level, check out our review and assess if this course is suitable for you.
Herbie Hancock MasterClass Review is all about music and drum rolls.
Who is Herbie Hancock
Before anything else, let’s meet your teacher.
If you’re a jazz lover, you probably have heard of the name Herbie Hancock as he is an absolute legend. In 1963, Herbie started his career being a part of the Miles Davis Quintet. It boosted his journey, and he started working with great music artists like Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, and Joni Mitchell.
Because of his plausible skills and innovative technique, he became a recognized musical writer and arranger of jazz tunes, film scores, disco music, and many more. With that, he received 14 Grammys and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
But, he has also been a well-recognized composer and arranger, creating jazz tunes, film soundtracks, disco music, and everything in between.
Aside from being an artist in the music industry, he also became a professor in the Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles. Not just that, he was also the chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz until 2019.
Overview of the Class
The Herbie Hancock Masterclass is an outstanding course that aims to teach an in-depth curriculum about jazz from the master himself. This course consists of 25 videos that would run for over four hours. The topics that Herbie discussed are:
- A Human Approach to Music
- Learning by Listening
- The Two Basic Jazz Forms
- Listen and Learn: “Oleo”
- Piano Basics
- Piano Exercises
- Improvising Alone
- Expanded Improv Techniques
- Jam Session: Improvising Together
- Recomposing, Rearranging, Reinventing
- Jam Session: Two Approaches to “Watermelon Man”
- Working As a Composer
- Chord Voicings
- Case Study: Reharmonizing” ‘Round Midnight”
- Ravel’s Creative Harmonies
- Expanding Your Harmonic Horizons
- Listen and Learn: “Maiden Voyage”
- Rhythmic Musicianship
- Jam Session: Rhythm in “Actual Proof”
- A Musical Life
- Listen and Learn: “Watermelon Man”
In this class, you’ll learn the technicalities of improvisation and how to do it. Herbie will also teach you how to write music freely. Lastly, you’ll receive valuable tips and tricks on becoming a professional musician.
Yes, Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass offers lessons that you’ll make good use of as you take on the journey in the field of music. However, remember that there’s no perfect curriculum. And just like any other courses offered today, there will always be pros and cons.
Pros and cons
Below are some of the pros of Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass.
- Learn From A Legend
Herbie Hancock is a legend and a one-of-a-kind talent in the field of music. That said, who doesn’t want to learn from the best?
His name alone is enough reason for you to go ahead and take his class, not to mention his numerous Grammies. So, if you’re looking for a credible music teacher, you’ve found him! Moreover, previous students have also shared that he delivers complex lessons in a fun yet very understandable way.
- Finding Your Original Voice
In this class, Herbie Hancock constantly reiterates his desire for every student to find their voice and be an original in the field of music. Though it’s never wrong to idolize great artists, Herbie promotes self-discovery and following your inner voice when it comes to the industry.
- Learn In Your Own Pace
Though this masterclass runs for 4 hours and 23 minutes, it doesn’t mean you have to finish and learn every lesson in one sitting.
Herbie suggested taking all the time you need to understand all the information received per episode. Take the time to practice before jumping to the next lesson. This way, you’re encouraged to digest and register every principle and guideline and find a way to apply it to yourself.
Another great thing about this masterclass is the PDF workbook you can download. The truth is, some of the things that Herbie discussed are difficult to follow, especially for beginners. However, with the help of the downloaded file, you can follow Herbie’s pace while reading all the notations given in the workbook.
To make a well-informed decision, here are some downsides to Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass.
- Too Much For Beginners And Too Little For The Advanced
This course, of course, welcomes students of all ages and levels. However, the truth is that there are inconsistencies as some parts of the course are suitable for beginners with little to offer to more experienced musicians.
- Too Much Theory and Less Demonstration Explanation
Throughout the classes, Herbie shares theories in music. However, some of the terminologies are delivered without explaining their meaning. Sadly, it might not be ideal for aspirants and industry newbies.
For example, Herbie explains chord voicings and tells the students how diverse chord voices could produce different sounds when using the same notes. Theoretically, it’s helpful. But when he started playing the piano to emphasize the lesson, understanding how he did it could be hard to grasp.
- Some Parts Are Unstructured
Herbie’s interview sessions are a bit unstructured and hard to grasp. That said, it’s best to prepare a notebook and jot down all the little pieces of information you get.
Who is This Class for
As mentioned earlier, Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass is open to everybody. Still, what’s the ideal target audience?
You are encouraged to join the course if:
- You’re a beginner but have some background or knowledge about music, like basic principles and terminologies, and you know how to play.
- You’re a musician and want to venture into a different genre, expand your horizon, or want to unleash the voice within.
- You’re already a professional in the field of music and seek a new musical approach or even inspiration.
On that note, if you’re not one of the abovementioned personas, this course might be too hard to chew on as your first lesson.
How Much Does the Class Cost
MasterClass pricing offers three plans. If you are a solo student, you can subscribe to the $180 annual plan, which is $15 per month.
If you want to share it with a friend, you can avail of the duo plan, which costs $20 per month. This plan allows two devices for simultaneous use. You are also entitled to all the downloadable videos on the website.
Lastly, there’s the family plan. Subscribing to this entitles you to use six devices all at once. You are also eligible to download videos of every class offered.
Subscribing to whatever plan is suitable for you allows you to access over a hundred courses on the website. Aside from that, they also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied and decide to unsubscribe.
Many people have shared their reviews of Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass course online. Here’s what they say:
There were no jazz teachers on the South Side of Chicago, so Herbie Hancock taught himself. Now, he’s giving you the music lessons he never had. Sit down at the piano with Herbie, winner of 14 Grammys and an Oscar, and explore his approaches to harmony, composition, and improvisation. In his class, Herbie teaches and plays note-for-note as he demonstrates the sounds that inspire him and learn to perform like a legend.
So, is the Herbie Hancock Masterclass worth it? Yes! You’ll really get a rounded inspiration and classes. There’s so much stuff going on, and they add a new class every month. There’s a lot of jam-packed information here.
-Greg Kocis (Comment from Youtube)
Even if you’re an advanced student, you might get a kick out of just hearing Herbie talk about some of his experiences or get some inspiration and joy out of hearing some of his pieces and watching him play them in the video. I do think that this course is mostly for beginners to intermediate students. Anyone above intermediate mostly likely knows all of this information and more already. But, the value of this class depends on what perspective you’re coming at it from. Herbie’s teaching style is just as pleasant as his personality. He’s really easy to listen to and not a stereotypical piano teacher. This course is about finding your own sound and style.
-Keys to the Castle Music (Comment from Youtube)
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you want to take Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass course. There are, as mentioned above, both pros and cons. To sum things up for you, the biggest pro is that you get the opportunity to learn about music from an absolute Legend. On the other hand, you need at least some basic knowledge of music to be able to follow the class.
If you felt like this wasn’t your cup of tea, remember that the platform offers hundreds of other classes taught by outstanding people in numerous other industries and fields. Good luck!