Friday, December 12, 2014

The other Herbie Hancock story

Herbie Hancock’s other story

As promised, the second lesson from Herbie Hancock’s interview a couple of weeks ago.

Hancock was asked about the ease of musical creation and experimentation with modern computers and electronics. Not surprisingly, he loves the lower barrier to entry and the ease of experimentation- especially compared to the amazing lengths required for electronic musical experimentation in his early days. Then he said something striking, he talked about having to learn all of the old ways, the basics, the fundamentals- and then having to unlearn them to get the most out of new musical technologies.

The foundation provided a deep understanding, but could also hold him back from fully utilizing the new tools; that applies to many advances in technology, from understanding point ignition and carburetors before tackling modern computer controlled ignition and fuel injection, to advances in networking, virtualization, and cloud technologies.

Mastery includes knowing not only what to learn, but what to unlearn, and when- and knowing how to unlearn without forgetting.

I’m pretty good at the unlearning part, the rest I’m still working on.