What if I told you that Hans Zimmer, the man known for his magical musical journey. From the globally hit music composition of The Lion King to Inception is teaching us film scoring? No, I am not lying.
I was surfing through the internet for a course on music composition.
That’s when Hans Zimmer MasterClass came to light and showed me how important it is to learn music to excel professionally in the field. Music plays a pivotal role in every aspect of filmmaking.
He is actually taking us through his journey, dropping tips and tricks, and making our lives easy.
In this article, you’ll learn more about Hans Zimmer, his coaching, hacks to use in music composition, how he has categorized his lessons, and this MasterClass’s budget, and more.
If you’re on the go check this quick overview section.
Quick Overview: Hans Zimmer MasterClass
If you are running out of time, here is a short summary that you can check.
You get to learn the following:
- Introduction to music composition.
- How to score for background, dialogues & characters.
- Coordinating with directors’ vision.
- Creating a new palette for each project.
- Dealing with creative block.
- Life of a music composer.
Suitable for: Musicians keen on learning and exploring different genres from the basics and students interested in film scoring.
The Number of Lessons and Time Taken: This MasterClass has 31 lessons, and it will approximately take 5 hours to complete the MasterClass.
Quick verdict: The course covers all the relevant points in learning film scoring from the very basic and helps in understanding the motive of a movie and compose music rather than scoring background for the sake of the movie.
Hans Zimmer MasterClass Review: In a Bubble
The MasterClass instructed by Hans Zimmer is a well-curated and structured MasterClass. This MasterClass makes it easier for anyone with basic knowledge of composing and film scoring to learn about new dynamics.
As mentioned earlier about the perfectly programmed MasterClass, it takes hours to complete these lessons, and apparently, this specific MasterClass by Hans Zimmer is said to be the longest one.
Personally, I prefer to take lessons which are longer. This way, I can easily take note of the crucial chapters in a detailed manner and learn more about the lessons.
So, it was pretty good. This MasterClass does not just show video-formatted lessons and skip to the end, but they give us closure about the course by providing additional workbooks in a PDF format.
Those workbooks come along with simple assignments and tasks for us to get going with the course.
While taking up this MasterClass, I found out that there is a vast community of interactive fellow students with whom you can acquire and share knowledge about all the learnings in the course.
Hans Zimmer starts off the MasterClass by introducing himself and eventually dives into the core part of the learning right away. Like, he tells us about how to score into a story and compose a theme.
Zimmer also shares his journey in working with talented musicians worldwide and casually shows his typical lifestyle as a music composer in today’s world. Trust me, and it was worth watching.
Also, he shows behind-the-scenes of his greatest hits and what goes into the making. Watch out!
Hans Zimmer: Who is he?
You might not have known him by the name, but his music compositions and film scoring have stolen millions of hearts worldwide.
Hans Zimmer is a music producer and film composer who has worked in award-winning movies like Interstellar, Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and many more legendary movies.
Zimmer is also one of the main reasons people choose to watch a particular movie for which he has scored. This is because he has such a dedicated fan following across the world.
At the time of this writing, he has been honored with 120+ awards, including an Academy Award and a Golden Globes award for scoring the world-famous movie “The Lion King” itself.
A fun fact about Hans Zimmer is that he is a self-taught music composer and typically does not watch the movie while composing or scoring its background, which makes him stand out.
His style of record-making is by combining electronic music with steady orchestral beats.
What did Hans Zimmer teach me?
There were a lot of things I learned from this legend. He taught lessons in such an effortless way, and I could indeed say that Hans Zimmer is a great teacher as well.
Zimmer drops a hint of example; when working with Christopher Nolan, he did not know the movie was about space and all that but the importance of being a father and scored the music accordingly.
He gave this example by stating that it is done to understand the motive of the movie and compose music rather than scoring background for the sake of the movie.
This gives value to the music by enhancing the movie, he adds.
Hans Zimmer MasterClass Lessons Reviewed
The best part about Hans Zimmer’s MasterClass is the way his lessons are categorized. There are over 31 lessons, each specifying various aspects of music composition and film scoring.
Although his MasterClass promises to stream 31 lessons, few lessons in the course are divided into two parts to understand his composing deeply.
Since it is hard to cover the entire course in this review, I will skim you through the lessons in bullet points for easy understanding and tell how impactful they were to me as a musician.
1. Initiation to the course
Hans Zimmer initiates the MasterClass by showering some motivation about how unraveling and learning the craft is vital to perfecting oneself’s mediocrity. He also mentions that the MasterClass is not a shortcut to create a masterpiece with no hard work and dedication but requires total commitment in the journey of finding one’s rhythm.
2. Envisioning the theme
Next, he suggests we look through the director’s vision while unpacking the theme of a given story because to deliver tone to a particular theme; a composer has to envision it first.
While talking about visions, he does not give a well-drafted method to do it but leaves it to us to do it ourselves because each of us envisions things differently, and that spoke volumes.
“If I play you a piece of music, that’s when you can truly look inside me.”
I have always struggled to feel the beat while composing, and this cleared it for me.
Apart from this, he also plays the music while talking about composing a theme and what a tune can mean in a situation, a song, and a feeling.
3. Scoring the story
He gradually shares how the story of a movie plays a significant role in scoring the background for it because the emotion in the storyline provokes the tune, which results in the score as well.
“As the seconds of our lives are ticking away, you have to realize that life needs to be an adventure.”
He also tells us the difference between the film’s story and the film itself, as it can vary significantly. Film scoring involves a tremendous effort than directing films is what I have learned in this.
As mentioned previously, he usually doesn’t watch the movie to score the background but says that he always asks for the storyline to blend in the beats accordingly.
4. Co-ordinating with directors
Zimmer opens up about how essential it is to talk about the film’s background score to the directors, editors, producers, or anyone involved who you think might be valuable to be vocal about the composing process. At this point, I felt he was referring to taking criticisms.
Usually, as we start scoring the music, we blend in with the tune and rhythm but forget to realize that it can be listened from a different perspective by a different person.
“You’re going to fail a few times, because that is the only time you actually learn something.”
So, he recommends talking about it and receiving feedback from the devoted persons involved as it gives an insight into how better the score can be improved.
He also tells us how we can mold the director’s cut and outshine it by playing with the soundtrack and background scores during this lesson.
Behind-the-scenes alert: Apparently, this lesson was shot while Hans Zimmer was composing for “The Gladiator.” Don’t miss the shot. It was mind-blowing.
5. Film Scoring is more than music
In this section, Hans delivers content on how music can be retrieved and taken inspiration from anything and everything in the world. He also points out that film scoring revolves around music and sounds of a different atmosphere.
As nature itself is considered world music, each tune, each drop, each wave, each chirp, each crack, all of this are obtained from natural sounds around us. Crazy, right?
At first, I thought he would call out nature for music, but I realized that all these are put together in a natural palette, which gave me clarity in taking inspiration.
“I think one of the things which always is forgotten in music class, is the first thing you have to do as a musician is you have to learn how to listen.”
He eventually took this deep into the next section and labeled it as the sound palette and how it is necessary to create a new palette for each project to give life to a new world.
6. Dialogue Scoring is important
Naturally, background scores are played for every frame in a film, and it varies upon the type of dialogue being delivered. In contrast, if the dialogue is of intense emotion, it hits different and requires a lesser score.
“Electronic music lends itself to an abstract way of storytelling, so it keeps evolving. Theres a whole movement truly driving music further and there is no other music innovating as much as film music.”
Hans gives a simple yet effective tip in this lesson where he explains that if you feel that the music is overpowering a specific dialogue scene in a film, it is better to get rid of it.
This way, you can give room to the dialogue to breathe out, which can later be followed by smooth scoring as it will bring back the viewer’s attention in keeping up with the film.
7. Composing for a Character
During this lesson, Zimmer becomes transparent about empathizing with a character despite not feeling the same way the character feels in a film. In addition, he unveils some of the professional case studies he did on fictional characters like Jack Sparrow, Joker, etc.
He states that each character evokes a certain level of emotion and empathy; for this, we have to deliver the accurate tone to which those characters can blend in.
I wasn’t sure how a musician could compose a theme for a character, then realized how we all remember Joker by his background music and Batman by the perfect soundtrack.
“If something happened where I couldnt write music anymore, it would kill me. Its not just a job. Its not just a hobby. Its why I get up in the morning.”
Hans taught me that composing for a character is as important as designing a character because the music adds volume to the character being portrayed in a project. For example, he differentiated the themes he had composed for the following characters.
Say, for Jack Sparrow, he had given the feeling of darkness and wickedness, while for Joker, the theme goes somewhere around being evil and loud.
He concluded the entire MasterClass by sharing his life as a music composer who gave a clear image of how the lifestyle of a film scorer is not as easy as it is talked about in general.
He says that his musical journey is a different voyage from his struggles and hints a piece of advice to aspiring artists and musicians to keep creating masterpieces to be known.
Hans Zimmer “Teaches Film Scoring”: Let’s talk about money!
MasterClass has a unique way of pricing plans with a bit of twist where the users can opt for one single course or get access to the entire MasterClass community.
That is, All-access pass – $180/-
Now, don’t jump to conclusions quickly because there is a hidden logic behind this budgeting. First, you get to view and stream only the desired course for a single access pass, which is fair.
But what is more exciting is that if you go for the all-access pass, you are entitled to be learning lessons from all the legends available on the platform, which means you get access to all 80+ MasterClasses.
As for me, I opted for the all-access pass because I am also an amateur cook, so I wanted to learn something culinary from the world-famous celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
Not only this, there are more well-known faces like Serena Williams teaches tennis, Christina Aguilera Masterclass teaches singing, Steven Martin MasterClass teaches comedy, Werner Herzog MasterClass teaches film making many more inspirational artists who come together to teach us.
Note: If you wanna a detailed breakdown of MasterClass pricing, check our MasterClass cost breakdown here.
Whom This MasterClass Best Suited To?
I cannot conclude and constrain this course for a specific group of people. If you are a newbie, it might be foreign to you as the course goes a little deep into composing and scoring in feature films.
As far as I have noticed, this MasterClass by Hans Zimmer can be beneficial to those who are passionate about film composition, independent producers, and music composers.
It can also be recommended to musicians keen on learning and exploring different genres from the basics and understand the variety of dimensions a slight beat in a background score goes through in creating a unique masterpiece. Again, I was surprised to witness all this in a single course.
Even if you admire Hans Zimmer’s work, you can give it a shot and find out how he manages to outshine with his mesmerizing music composition every single time.
What Makes This MasterClass Engaging?
To answer this, Hans straight up suggests getting a solid box and tie a rubber band over it to make music because he believes that music can be created from literally anything.
This took me back to the natural palette that he earlier talked about in the course.
Anyway, if you are going professionally into the field, Zimmer recommends two devices that might be essential in his composing.
A synthesizer; he uses to add sound samples and later play his keyboard tunes into it.
He also suggests a digital audio workstation (DAW), one of the most potent devices owned by a composer. He uses Cubase and Protools with DAW. Of course, there are alternatives as well.
Is Hans Zimmer MasterClass worth taking?
By now, you must have got an idea of how Hans Zimmer’s legendary lessons in this MasterClass. The entire course is neatly curated but gets technical and can be complicated.
It may not be suitable for everyone unless or until you are interested in film scoring and anything music-related. If not, it might be boring for you. Of course, you get to see the scoring process, but it won’t be interesting enough to sit through the whole MasterClass.
This MasterClass by Hans Zimmer is most likely to be enjoyed by film enthusiasts, producers, and composers who are vividly in awe to be learning from an icon at a fair price point.
- Learn 🎸 Music Composition
- Learn 🎥 Film Scoring
- Easy To Grasp Lessons
Hans Zimmer MasterClass Alternatives:
Even if you are not fully convinced to take this MasterClass by Hans Zimmer, there are two other alternatives that pretty much cover similar sub-headings and have a well-structured course value.
1. Deadmau5 MasterClass “Teaches Electronic Music Production.”
2. Danny Elfman MasterClass “Teaches Music for Film.”
The MasterClass by Deadmau5 had quite a different approach to music and its genre; it follows similar teaching to that of Hans Zimmer’s MasterClass but focuses on DAW and music processing.
Next comes Danny Elfman’s MasterClass, where the instructor talks about working with instruments and synthesizers.
Final Thoughts: My Experience With Hans Zimmer MasterClass
Learning from the legend was a blessing because I grew up listening to his background scores in exceptional movies, and there were days I would watch his movies only for the music.
It was quite an experience to be taught by Hans Zimmer as he opened up about the process of music composition, film scoring, and creating a theme. I also got to know his lifestyle as a music composer.
There were a lot of takeaways from this MasterClass for me personally as a musician.
Frequently Asked Questions On Hans Zimmer MasterClass
How long is the MasterClass by Hans Zimmer?
His MasterClass had 31 lessons which can take up to 5 hours of watch time.
What’s the budget for Hans Zimmer’s MasterClass?
An all-access pass priced at $180 per year ($15 per month) allows you to access Hans Zimmer with other 80+ MasterClasses.
Can I get the Hans Zimmer MasterClass for free?
Unfortunately, there is no possibility that you can get Hans Zimmer’s MasterClass for free.
Is there a refund policy for the MasterClass?
Yes, a 30-day money-back policy is provided if you are unhappy with the MasterClass. However, kindly note that the course can be refunded only within 30 days of joining the course.