Hans Zimmer MasterClass Review – Is It Worth It?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | MasterClass Course Reviews

Apr 13

Hans Zimmer is an award-winning film score composer and a record producer. He has managed to compose for many famous movies such as The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Interstellar, and many others. His list of awards includes four Grammy Awards, three Classical BRIT Awards, two Golden Globes and an Academy award. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Lion King.

Zimmer has been recognized as a music genius when he made The Telegraph's list of 100 Living Geniuses. He has put together music for around 150 movies without even watching them. A film's music is what shapes it, and if it’s a movie like The Lion King, then the score plays a significant role in giving it its flavor.

Zimmer joins MasterClass to teach his fans and composing enthusiasts the art of storytelling through music in his first-ever online class.

What is MasterClass?

MasterClass is an online platform where skilled experts, experienced professionals and recognized talents from different fields teach their audience about their related fields and what they know about it. These instructors have worked for years in their fields and share their insights that can only be gained through years of experience.

MasterClass offers lessons for fields like poker, cooking, photography, scriptwriting etc. Some of the other famous instructors on MasterClass include Gordon Ramsay, Herbie Hancock and Natalie Portman.

These instructors teach through a series of pre-recorded videos, workbooks and assignments. Since this is an online class, it is easy for everyone to manage time for these lessons. You can either binge-watch it or take one lesson at a time, but it is advised not to rush it and try to finish the workbooks and assignments along with the lessons.

The assignments are engaging and the online community makes it easy to make the most out of the experience. Learning through MasterClass is easy, accessible and unlike anything else.

Learn About Hans Zimmer's MasterClass:

Hans Zimmer is known for his innovative sounds and how he combines electrical music with old beats. He enjoyed his time as a pop artist before he moved on to working in the film industry. He first collaborated with his mentor, then he moved on to scoring music for movies by himself.

In his MasterClass, Hans shares his insights and experiences as a film score composer with his pupils. He teaches them how he learned to create a character’s story through music.

Lesson Plan:

Zimmer’s MasterClass has 31 lessons, and through these he walks us through the process of scoring a movie and finding a character’s theme.

In his introductory lesson, he introduces himself and talks about the significance of his class and how he plans to conduct it.

Moving forward, he tells his students the importance of a theme and how complicated themes are not necessarily good themes. He emphasizes the importance of simplicity here.

Hans shares his rules of composing a song or score a theme when the film is still in the works. He talks about how he puts together his music and the story with little to go on with.

For Hans, it is important to understand the director and their thought process because sometimes the director’s ideas are the only thing that’s clear when the movie hasn’t even been shot yet. The director's perspective tells you about the direction of the movie and how they plan to shoot it. It is important to have a good relationship with the director and discuss with them your writing process in order to produce something close to his line of vision. Discussions and more discussions with the director is the most essential part of effective composing.

We also learn about the unique sound palettes Zimmer has created over the years. His ability to create something extraordinary out of ordinary sounds is astounding. That’s why in one of his lessons, he composes a new song using synthesizers. He doesn’t hesitate to showcase his talents in order to invoke interest from his viewers and show them his composing process.

Later in his lessons, Hans tells his audience how important it is to score a scene as well as the significance of knowing when a scene is fine without any score. It is not necessary to give every scene in the movie a score just because you can. Similarly, scoring and dialogue has a delicate relationship and a composer must know when to quit otherwise you won’t be hearing any dialogues over the score.

Just like your relationship with the director, your equation with the editor also matters. The editor’s editing is what will challenge your musical talents. Hans takes an example from his own works and explains how he scored an extremely well-edited Sherlock Holmes scene.

Twelve lessons into his class, Hans shares a trick that helps him with the process of scoring. He creates music libraries for each of his projects that he visits often as he works on the project.

Hans further tells us how he tries to understand his characters to give them themes befitting their vibe. Here, he again visits his notable works, like Batman and Jack Sparrow, and explains the process with examples.

His lessons also include case studies where he dissects his own work and explains his creative thought process.

In the end, he doesn’t forget to mention the musicians that play important roles in a film's scoring. Just like the editor and the director, knowing how your musicians work is also very important.

Access to MasterClass:

There are two passes available on MasterClass. One is a single-access pass worth $90 and the other is an all-access pass worth $180.

Many of you might wonder if it really is worth spending $90 for an online class. Let me remind you again who is teaching this MasterClass. Hans Zimmer is known for his genius musical capabilities and innovative sounds. No matter which institute you join to learn film composing, you will never have the opportunity to learn first-hand from someone as skilled as Hans Zimmer. Learning from the best should be your priority no matter the price.

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