Among the topics that Herbie Hancock promises to cover in the intro to his MasterClass series is “one’s own ability to develop one’s own sound.” Though there are plenty of vital tips and techniques to be found in the 25-lesson online video tutorial, don’t expect the iconic pianist-composer to hand you your voice.
“That can’t be taught,” Hancock, 77, admitted over the phone from his hotel room in Norway. “You have to do that. You don’t get that from somebody else. But it can be encouraged, and what can be taught, perhaps, are pitfalls that pull you away from finding your own voice. Most of us learn in the beginning by being a copycat. But if you stay there and only become good at copying somebody else, you’re not really finding answers for why you exist. Every person is unique, and if you’re really serious about music and you don’t find your own way of expression, then you’ve failed in defining who you are.”