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Arts & Entertainment

Hans' Journey

Hans Zimmer

Lesson time 14:41 min

Learn how Hans fell in love with storytelling and switched his career from a "radio star" to film composer.

Hans Zimmer
Teaches Film Scoring
From collaborating to scoring, Hans Zimmer teaches you how to tell a story with music in 31 exclusive video lessons.
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I grew up in Germany without television. So my parents basically thought television was the end of culture as we know it. I remember roughly at the age of 12 sneaking into the back door of the little local cinema in our little village. And they were playing Once Upon a Time in the West. And it was just the huge Sergio Leone images was the Ennio Morricone music. And I went, that's what I want to do. I've been misled all my life being taken to concerts and operas. This is where it's at. It never occurred to me that I could actually go and do movies. What happened was that my writing of music changed and became more about storytelling. I became more interested in telling a story in music than anything else. I did the usual, was it a pop band. I did a record with a chap called Trevor Horn called "Video Killed the Radio Star," which, really, what we wanted to do, we wanted to make a movie. We didn't really want to make a record. And the record is very much a story. So I became more and more interested and fascinated by the possibilities that music and images had. One of the problems I had in my sort of pop music experience was that it felt very limited in many many, many ways. Partly it was the structure of a pop song was always intro, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus, chorus out. So structure was always the same. And it didn't expand. And it didn't expand on-- you couldn't take emotional risks in a funny way. And you couldn't tell the stories I wanted to tell or I wanted to talk about. And movies let you do that. And I will miss the late nights on the British motorways forever but not really. And exchanged it for late night sitting in front of movie screens and talking to directors. And really part of the thing that happened as well about writing for movies was suddenly you were in a room with people who knew how to tell a story. And I mean, look, the first director I ever met met with was Nick Roeg, Stephen Frears, those sort of English directors in the '80s. They were writing things like My Beautiful Laundrette, which was stories which felt relevant. They felt more relevant than the pop songs we were doing. There was a sort of freedom attached to the way we could structure music and we could-- if today I wanted to write a psychedelic country and western heavy metal song, nobody was stopping me from doing it. While in the record business, which pretended that you had freedom, it was quite the opposite where you're actually put into these narrow little boxes. You are doing electro pop. You are doing whatever you're doing. So the freedom that came with doing movies was enormously attractive. I came to cinema weirdly late. I mean, I told you earlier that the first thing I really saw was Once Upon a Time in the West because I snuck in as a kid. I still owe the money. And it just blew me away because for...

Tell a story with music

Hans Zimmer didn’t see a film until he was 12 years old. Since then, he’s scored over 150 films, including Inception, The Lion King, and The Dark Knight. In his MasterClass, the self-taught Academy Award-winner teaches how he creates sounds from nothing, composes compelling character themes, and scores a movie before ever seeing it. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to start film scoring.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Being humble is always a quality I look for in an artist. Hans knows that feeling like someone is nipping at your heels is a great place to be

This master class did help me. While taking this master class I had a student in Philadelphia send me his film to score. I took the principles Hans taught about writing for the story of the film and successfully score the student's film. He loved the music and hopes to be submitting his film to a festival very shortly.

What I learned is that I know nothing and that there is something here to learn. I am intrigued and find the bits of information tucked in here and there are jewels to be found or discovered by anyone doing this class. Good luck

Has been absolutely amazing. Hans gives every secret on making music for films, but also shows you the guides to tell a good story with your work .


Antonia T.

Hans' mother was Jewish. Luckily she escaped the horrific antisemitic Germany in 1939 and survived the war in England. She introduced Hans to music.

A fellow student

So refreshing to know Hans is this: " I have absolutely no idea how to score your movie" where we all know he's lying... Instead of this: " I am responsible for the zeitgeist of modern Hollywood scoring!" where we would quickly accuse him of elite conceit.

Rachel R.

"None of us know what we're doing, we're all just making it up!" As successful as HZ is, he never once gives off an elitist vibe. This career is possible for anybody. He's very encouraging and empowering!

Alta Vista

Amazing to have a Master Class with Hans Zimmer. I loved how honest Mr. Zimmer was with budgets and working with directors. I look forward to attending all his Master classes.

Brent H.

the muscle memory idea is fantastic! I do often go to the same chords and keys when I sit down to compose. I will try the exercise by sitting on my ands and allowing the melodies to come to me before I strike a key! I made a connection today that might give me a shot at my first score so I am pretty stoked

Dr. Monnie Chan

I believe in following our inner voice and just do it. Sometimes it is right, but sometimes we may be confused and should pay for it. Being a composer, to follow one's instinct is very common. But how can we discriminate if it is correct or, such as, "Hand on, it works not now but may be 10 years later. But still I have to do it, just write it down .." I think you all know what I mean. Looking forward to your intelligent and impact ideas.

Ethan F.

I guess the most affraying thing is the idea of never being part of this experience. I want dedicate my life to film and film music composing, but what if I'm not lucky enough... This lesson sure is a great inspiration.

Dr. Monnie Chan

Our maestro teacher Hans Zimmer live concert in Hong Kong is coming on 26th September 2019. Just 12 days to go. I am going and wonder if there are any classmates I can meet?

A fellow student

I can't seem to watch any of the videos. It is in a perpetual state of buffering that never quite buffs. Not sure of the sollution. I tried downliading the app etc. to bo avail? Not sure if it is a problem with my phone or your ebd or something imbetween. Please help if you can. Thanks.

Teresa L.

What he says about finding our "Voice" applies to every one of us as creators, as human beings, who can get quiet enough to hear an inutition already inside ourselves, swimming in a current of humanity that is hard-wired to conform. To trust it, to follow it. He says it so beautifully. To give ourselves permission to be who we are becoming... the acorn to the oak tree.