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If you’re a musician who wants to learn how to write film music, then Hans Zimmer would probably be one of the people you would want to teach you. With Masterclass, that can actually happen. Masterclass offers courses that are taught by some of the word’s leaders in the spheres of sport, cookery, the arts and business. They offer a course in film scoring that is taught by Zimmer, the man who composed the scores for movies like Gladiator, The Prince of Egypt and Black Hawk Down. He has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and won an Oscar for his score for The Lion King. He has been nominated for Oscars no less than 11 times. Read on to discover what his Masterclass course can offer.
So we’ve introduced you to the storied career of Hans Zimmer, and given you a snapshot of his life. Now let’s take a more detailed look at the work of this titan of the film industry. Zimmer is German, and was born in Frankfurt in 1957. He did not begin his career in music as a film composer. He was also not a classical musician, as many film composers have been in the past. Instead, Zimmer began his career in rock and pop music.
He is a self-taught musician whose only formal training was two weeks of piano lessons. He taught himself his skills, and joined bands as a youngster to hone his talents. His mother was Jewish, and escaped Nazi Germany by fleeing to England in the 1930s. She was a musician while his father was an engineer. His father was died when Zimmer was a child, and he has stated that music became his escape and his “best friend” as a result.
Zimmer’s musical career began in the 1970s when he played keyboards for a band called Krakatoa. He also worked with the band Buggles, who formed in London in 1977. He can be seen in the video for their hit single Video Killed the Radio Star. He went on to work with an Italian New Wave band called Krisma. He later worked with a host of other bands in various capacities, including producing an album for The Damned.
It was in London in the 1980s that he branched out into composing music for films. Initially, he wrote advertising jingles for Air-Edel Associate. Later, he would work alongside film composer Stanley Myers, adding electronic instruments to traditional orchestras on film scores that included Moonlighting and My Beautiful Laundrette. During this period in his career he also composed the theme tune for the hit TV show Going for Gold.
In 1988 Zimmer’s Hollywood career really took off when he composed the score for Rain Man. Since then, the list of movies for which he has composed scores is phenomenal. It includes Crimson Tide, The Thin Red Line, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, among a host of others. Recently, it was confirmed that Zimmer would be taking over as the composer for the score for the James Bond movie No Time To Die, after Dan Romer left the film.
That’s the definition of a Hollywood heavyweight, so now let’s take a closer look at what his Masterclass course can offer you.
The Hans Zimmer course on film scoring consist of 31 video lessons, each of which is around 12 minutes long. This makes it one of the lengthier Masterclass courses that we have seen. Given the complexity of writing film scores, though, this is possibly to be expected. Obviously, you will need to have a certain amount of pre-existing musical skill to get the most out of the course. If you have zero understanding of music then this is probably not the course for you.
A downloadable workbook is provided too, and this features lesson recaps and other supplemental materials. This means that you will need to spend more time studying these materials away from the lessons. This requires more time commitment from you, and you need to bear this in mind before enrolling. The concepts and ideas that Zimmer teaches will need to be applied practically at some stage, so you need at least a laptop with appropriate applications for composing music.
The content of the Hans Zimmer Masterclass course covers almost every aspect of a film composer’s working life. It begins with Zimmer introducing himself and his work. As it progresses, you will learn how to work alongside film directors. There are plenty of case studies, and you will also see how Zimmer works on composing music for specific characters in films.
Crucially, there are also lessons on how to work alongside other musicians. Writing tips and reacting to audience feedback are also covered in detail in this comprehensively designed course.
Zimmer’s unconventional musical background as a new wave musician can be seen in his view of the course, which he sees as making film scoring as accessible as possible to anyone with ideas.
“My MasterClass is a way for me to show that bold ideas can come from anyone and all you need is a computer to make music. Maybe even just a phone!” he said in a press release.
“I hope my MasterClass helps people see they just need to break the rules and move their ideas forward. The rest is just technicalities.”
If you fancy yourself as one of Zimmer’s musical rule breakers then this is probably the course for you. If you think you have got the spark, ideas and talent then we would recommend signing up.
The Hans Zimmer course is among the best offerings that we have seen from Masterclass. It is trule comprehensive in terms of its subject matter, and provides plenty of key insights into the life of a successful film composer. Of course, that does not mean that it is for everyone. You do need to have some aptitude for and understanding of music to get the most out of it. You also need to understand how music works in films, so we would not recommend this course to a novice with no musical ability.
If you do have the right aptitudes and abilities, though, this is definitely a course for which you should consider signing up. Zimmer is a true giant of the film industry, and it would be foolish to pass up the opportunity to learn from him. It is worth remembering that you will need to spend some time practicing what the course teaches, so your commitment does go beyond just watching Zimmer’s video lectures.
But Zimmer’s exhortations to never give up on the creative life and to pursue your dreams are inspiring, especially coming from someone who has enjoyed so much success but did not come from a conventional musical background. This is definitely a course that is aimed at people with talent who are determined to succeed. But it would also be a good course to take for anyone who is interested in how film music is composed, perhaps film writers and journalists would also find it useful.
We recommend the Hans Zimmer Masterclass course. If you are interested in learning how to compose film scores, it is the perfect course for you.