Herbie Hancock Masterclass Review

This article “Herbie Hancock Masterclass Review” will provide you with the opportunity to read an in-depth evaluation of Herbie Hancock’s Masterclass, including information on how the lessons are presented, who the course is best suited for, the cost, what I enjoyed about it, etc.

In my opinion, it was an excellent course. He’s one of those jazz and post-bop legends whose work you’ve heard even if you’ve never heard of him.

At the same time he was reinventing the role of the jazz rhythm section, he began his career with Donald Byrd’s band before joining Miles Davis’s. Additionally, he is credited with being a key figure in the development of the post-bop sound.

Rare honor for a jazz album also won him the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

However, what about his Masterclasses? Is Hancock’s online jazz instruction the best? What can you take away from this story? In this Herbie Hancock Masterclass Review, we take into account all of this and more.

For those who plan on making a career out of music, you’ll want to download our free ebook while you can:

About Herbie Hancock

About Herbie Hancock

In the jazz world, Herbie Hancock has been an influential figure for decades.

Known for fusing different styles of music, he’s always on the lookout for fresh ideas. There are 14 Grammys to show for it, as well as some of the most well-known and funkiest jazz songs ever recorded.

In 1963, Herbie joined Miles Davis’ quintet and saw his career take off. After that he became an innovative keyboard player, working with names like Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell. Snoop Dogg has also worked with him in the past.

His work includes jazz compositions, film soundtracks, disco music, and everything in between. He is also a well-known composer.

His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is well-earned!

What Is MasterClass?

About MasterClass

The treasure trove of information, experiences, and fun can be found at MasterClass.

It gives you the opportunity to learn from some of the most well-known figures in a variety of fields, including athletics, business, music, science, cookery, and more. You may do all of this without leaving the convenience of your own home.

The following are some of the names that are included:

  • Stephen Curry
  • Gordon Ramsey
  • Dan Brown
  • Hans Zimmer
  • Alicia Keys
  • Tony Hawk
  • RuPaul

The lessons in a course are delivered through a series of videos, each of which is accompanied by a workbook designed to assist students in further developing the knowledge and abilities shown in the films in their own time.

You can learn more about MasterClass, including what it is, how it operates, and some of the top programs that are offered on the platform by reading our most helpful article on MasterClass as well as our review of MasterClass.

Course Overview – Herbie Hancock Masterclass Review

Course Overview, Herbie Hancock Masterclass Review

The MasterClass that Herbie Hancock teaches is a comprehensive but time-consuming program. It includes the following:

  • 25 classes, the majority of which range in length from 5 to 15 minutes. This totals up to a priceless four hours and twenty-three minutes of Herbie Hancock engaging in one-of-a-kind interviews and classes.
  • A large workbook consisting of 164 pages that are filled with transcriptions of Herbie’s playing, descriptions of the lessons, and exercises for you to complete in the time in between the lessons.

The fact that there are 164 pages may appear to be overwhelming at first, but if you go through them slowly while also watching the video lessons, you will be able to acquire a much deeper understanding of the material.

This class is challenging to organize since “teaching jazz” refers to such a broad subject that students can learn it in a variety of methods, and hence the subject matter itself is expansive.

In light of the aforementioned, I believe that the Herbie Hancock MasterClass can be effectively divided into the following four parts:

  1. Herbie’s Advice
  2. Fundamentals of Jazz
  3. Practical Tips to Help You Develop
  4. Herbie in Performance

The purpose of the entire class is to guide you toward discovering your own unique voice. This indicates that there is substantial duplication of effort across all four areas. But if you’ll just bear with me for a moment.

In this Herbie Hancock Masterclass Review I’ll show you how each lesson may help you discover jazz at your own pace and in the way that best suits you.

A Human Approach to Music

you will be able to hear:

  • Herbie unravels the meaning of jazz
  • Why Hancock thinks that jazz is an important pursuit in this day and age
  • Get a taste of Herbie Hancock’s unbridled passion for jazz

This was a tremendously fun class for me, especially because Herbie’s enthusiasm for jazz piqued my interest in the material that I was going to cover in the subsequent lessons of the course.

My impression was that this session helped level the playing field and will assist you in developing a self-assured attitude towards the knowledge and experiences you already possess. In the end…

Herbie’s life has been only centered on performing, but also on composing music throughout its entirety. His compositions have gone on to become some of the most well-known pieces in the history of jazz.

Herbie will inspire you to take up your instrument and “just start” composing music in this lesson by telling you to do so.

This lesson was very motivating to me, especially considering that I am a drummer. It’s not hard for me to come up with a groove or an idea, but when I do, I rarely follow through on it. On the other hand, I now have the self-assurance to work on developing my ideas.

Working as a Composer

  • A solid chunk of real-world advice, from a guy that started from the bottom and worked his way up
  • About Herbie’s key moments in his career, like writing his tune “Maiden Voyage”
  • How to work successfully as a composer
  • Practical tips about navigating copyright and owning your music

A Musical Life

Additional one-of-a-kind tales and words of encouragement can instill you the self-assurance to venture out into the world and discover your own distinctive fashion.

Every musician has their own unique sound. Each of us has our own unique experiences and preferences.

Then, Herbie takes us step by step through:

  • Why musical hierarchies are dangerous
  • How to be inclusive and continually engage with the world around you
  • How to discover why finding your voice is so important, and why expressing yourself in music is relevant today.


This lesson is one of the first ones that you will encounter in the class, and it lays a solid groundwork for the remainder of the content that you will learn. The true value of Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass is in the way in which he simplifies concepts that on the surface appear to be difficult and intimidating related to jazz.

Herbie debunks the notion that it is possible to play the wrong notes, and he urges you to experiment with different sounds until you find something that pleases both your ears and your palate.

Regrettably, I get the impression that this session is missing some theoretical instruction to go along with the more conceptual aspects of it. On the other hand, this is something that can be easily learned through other online courses (see further down in this article).

The Two Basic Jazz Forms

You are now at the point in the class where, with the help of your workbook, you can really start putting some of your own ideas into action.

This extremely busy class includes:

  • Listening recommendations
  • Sheet music for two of the most common jazz structures (in the workbook) 
  • Herbie playing through examples 

The fact that I could test out my own improvising ideas over some chords and do it all in my own time was one of the things that I found to be most beneficial about the workbook.

Because the chords are constrained by the framework, you are required to operate within certain parameters. Because of this, I was compelled to think about the notes I was playing rather than just going for notes at random.

Recomposing, Rearranging, Reinventing

This lesson veers ever-so-slightly into the Interview format of Section 1, but only slightly.

You’ll hear the following here:

  • Herbie talking and playing through his unique arrangements (and sometimes rearrangements!) of tunes
  • Why reinventing old ideas and music can be an invaluable tool
  • How music really can tell a story… and not just one story!

Rhythmic Musicianship

Despite the fact that this lesson does not provide many useful pointers on how to apply rhythm, this is the point at which things start to get funky!

You are going to acquire the knowledge necessary to:

  • Play ‘in the pocket’
  • Be more comfortable playing fast
  • Embrace complex rhythms in your own music. 

Learning by Listening

Even while this piece of guidance isn’t exclusive to Herbie Hancock, it’s still an important thing to keep in mind. This lecture is especially interesting because it is complemented by Herbie’s humorous anecdotes about how he became aware of jazz throughout his formative years.

During this lesson, you are going to learn:

  • How to take in musical sounds
  • The primary action of determining what aspects of jazz are distinct from those of other genres
  • How listening can help you develop your own musical language and give you the confidence to be even more experimental in the way that you express yourself musically.

Piano Basics and Piano Exercises

These two sessions are mainly geared toward novices, but even more, experienced pianists can benefit greatly from gaining an understanding of Herbie’s practice routine and how he got his start playing the piano.

Increasing your physical awareness of how you play the piano can allow you to explore a wider range of musical possibilities on the instrument:

“Moving through various kinds of acoustic investigations is getting easier and easier to do.”

To summarise, this is not an original lesson, but it does provide many useful hints and suggestions that can assist you in improving your technique.

Expanded Improv Techniques

It has always been difficult for me to develop a concept into something important, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

This session was a veritable treasure trove of advice, including topics such as:

  • How to develop simple concepts into a whole narrative with music
  • A step-by-step explanation of the “how to” method that Herbie follows whenever he is writing or improvising.

Jazz Harmony

In this section, I have grouped together a few courses that address some more complicated harmonic concepts. The language that is used here is rather more sophisticated, and it’s likely that you’ll need some prior knowledge of the processes that Herbie is talking about, such as reharmonization and bitonality, in order to understand it.

These were some quite enlightening teachings, in my opinion. The material is not completely original; nonetheless, Herbie’s demonstration of it and the manner he discusses his concepts while playing the piano are extremely beneficial and interesting.

Because of these classes, my playing has improved the most; yet, this may be due to the fact that I am primarily a drummer and am not accustomed to thinking about harmony.

Case Study: Reharmonizing “Round Midnight”

Herbie illustrates the process of reharmonizing a melody by using the track “Round Midnight” as an example.

Herbie employs and shows a number of more difficult topics during this lecture, including the following:

  • Voices that are inverted
  • Internal melodies
  • Leading tones that have been harmonized
  • Chordal progressions that are both idiomatic and progressive

Expanding Your Harmonic Horizons

In this lesson, you will learn everything there is to know about:

  • Herbie’s harmonic toolbox that he uses to create his own music
  • How to practice reharmonization

Once again, I found this session to be quite beneficial in expanding the range of expression I have in my playing. You can free yourself from the constraints of playing inside a chord structure if you increase the amount of harmony you use in your performance.

The most important thing that you’ve learned from all of these classes on harmony.

Explore the reharmonization ideas Herbie demonstrates for yourself in this more practical section of the course. You are the only one who can identify your individual musical voice.

Throughout the entirety of the class, there will be a variety of performances, each of which will be accompanied by a transcription in the accompanying workbook.

These are presented immediately after a number of classes to illustrate the principles and principles that Herbie has just finished elaborating on.

This feature, which not only helps to break up the more content-heavy sections but also helps you to integrate what you have just learned and digested, was something that I really appreciated.

In these performances from Listen and Learn, Herbie plays melodies on his own and improvises around them, exhibiting various strategies of harmony, rhythm, and melodic variation:

  • “Oleo”
  • “Maiden Voyage”
  • “Watermelon Man”

During these Jam Sessions, Herbie was joined onstage by a rotating cast of guest artists. This offers a fresh perspective on how to implement the concepts learned in a collaborative environment. Another fantastic resource for education, not to mention some very groovy beats to enjoy!

  • Improvising Together
  • Two Approaches to Watermelon Man
  • Rhythm in “Actual Proof”

Course Prices – Herbie Hancock Masterclass Review

At the time this article was written, MasterClass had three different subscription plans available. This is how much it will set you back (per month):

  • Individual (1 user) $15
  • Duo (2 users) $20
  • Family (6 users) $23
  • All are billed annually, which at first glance may seem pricey.

However, if you join forces with some of your loved ones or acquaintances, you can cut your expenses by a significant amount. And of course, by enrolling in the greatest number of classes that you can.

With more than 150 different classes to choose from, there is a good chance that at least some of them will pique your interest. Even if you purchase an individual membership and only find ten percent of the courses to be of interest, you will still only spend twelve dollars on each course at this rate:

The annual individual membership price is $180, and 15 classes are equal to $12.

The price of each class is also significantly lowered if you take it with a group of people, such as friends or family. To learn how read either our evaluation of MasterClass or our post concerning the price of MasterClass.

The value is unrivaled when one considers the fact that these classes are presented by world-renowned experts in their respective professions. It is possible to pay over one hundred dollars for an online course that is taught by someone you have never even heard of, let alone a musician who has won a Grammy award.

In the event that you are dissatisfied with your purchase, MasterClass will reimburse your money within the first thirty days.

Gift subscriptions to MasterClass are also available for purchase.

Alternatives to Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass:

If you are having trouble deciding if Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass or another course is the better option for you, don’t worry; I’ve got you covered. During the course of my internet search for music-related classes, I came across various classes offered by MasterClass itself.

It was such a relief for me because I will be able to access everything without spending any additional money if I purchase an All-Access Pass. Permit me to run down the available options in a hurry.

  • Hans Zimmer MasterClass
  • Christina Aguilera MasterClass
  • Timbaland MasterClass
  • Jake Shimabukuro MasterClass
  • Usher MasterClass
  • Tom Morello MasterClass
  • Alicia Keys MasterClass
  • Carlos Santana MasterClass

I would recommend that you continue through each course rather than looking for alternatives because it helps build and develop numerous abilities simultaneously, including singing, playing guitar, electronic music, and many other skills. MasterClass has taken the time to put together a special collection that is geared just toward aspiring musicians.

Is Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass worth it?

The simple answer is that it is!

The length of the course (and the subsequent value for money), the personable and relevant presentation, the one-of-a-kind interviews and perspectives, and the well-put-together Workbook are all factors that contribute to the overall success of this course.

It is not worth your time if you are unable to read music and are not familiar with the terminology used in music. Additionally, some beginner players might find that some of the lessons are too difficult.

However, there is still something to be said for committed individuals who are willing to educate themselves in the fundamentals of jazz theory from outside sources (as discussed above). Keeping this in mind, every prospective musician who is interested in exploring their creative potential will discover that Herbie’s principles provide a great deal of value.

It’s possible that MasterClass seems expensive. Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass, on the other hand, will provide you with a 165-page Workbook, hours of listening recommendations, and several weeks’ worth of opportunities for musical growth, and it has the potential to be a watershed event in your music career. It’s a wonderful deal, especially when you consider that with the All-Access Pass, you may enroll in over 150 more classes.

You have nothing to lose by giving Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass a shot because you can have a taste of it for free and the company offers a money-back guarantee for the first 30 days.

Thank you for reading this article “Herbie Hancock Masterclass Review.” If you have any concerns, questions, or suggestions regarding this article, please write them in the comment section below. And don’t be hesitant about passing on this piece of knowledge to others.

Frequently asked questions

How much does Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass cost?

An all-access pass to MasterClass can be purchased for $180 per year (or $15 per month). This grants you access to Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass, in addition to more than 150 other online training programs.

How long is the Herbie Hancock MasterClass?

The entirety of Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass may be viewed in 25 separate videos and lasts for a total of four hours and twenty-three minutes.

Can I get a refund if I don’t like the Herbie Hancock MasterClass?

If you make your purchase directly with MasterClass, you are eligible for a refund within the first 30 days after your purchase. If you make purchases through other providers, you may be subject to the return policy of those providers.

Is Herbie Hancock Masterclass free?

The Herbie Hancock MasterClass is not, however, available for free download or streaming. However, you may try it out for free, and MasterClass provides a variety of payment choices as well as refunds if you aren’t satisfied with the service.

What can you learn from Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass?

In Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass, you will be able to study many different areas of jazz music, like the fundamentals of playing the piano, how to harmonize, how to find your own voice, and many more.

Is Herbie Hancock MasterClass good?

In conclusion, Herbie Hancock’s MasterClass is a fantastic resource for developing your own creative ideas and “finding your voice.” There is a wealth of information here for readers of all skill levels.

What Does Herbie Hancock teach?

Herbie Hancock Teaches Jazz. Over the course of 25 video sessions, you will learn to improvise, create, and develop your unique sound.

What piano does Herbie Hancock play?

The most recognizable brands of electric pianos are the Wurlitzer and Rhodes. Miles Davis was the one who introduced Herbie to the instrument, and he used it extensively throughout his career, often as his primary soloing instrument on many of his recordings. Between 1973 and 1981, he used it on the majority of the 17 albums collected here.

How many albums has Herbie Hancock released?

Herbie Hancock is an American jazz musician who has released 41 studio albums, 12 live albums, 62 compilation albums, 5 soundtrack albums, 38 singles (both commercially available and promotional), and 4 songs that were never officially released as singles but still managed to chart as a result of digital downloads.

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