Music & Entertainment

Life of a Composer: Part 1

Hans Zimmer

Lesson time 7:08 min

All artists struggle with the challenges that come with pursuing a life in the arts. Hear Hans' advice on how to never give up and never compromise your voice.

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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There's like sort of a bottom-line question that always hovers in the back of every conversation I have with anybody who wants to get into doing film music, which is, how do you get into film music? And honestly, I can't tell you how other than you have to feel compelled to tell a story. That's what you want to do. OK, here's my lesson for you. Whoever wants to be a film composer or even a composer or a musician. It's a terrible career move. It's terrible. There are so few opportunities. And most of the time, it's not going to work out, or you're going to be starving, or you're going to get chucked out of your flat for not paying the rent. These are all things that have happened. I'm speaking from experience. And the only reason to do it is because if you don't write music, you will die. I mean, literally, you have to be that crazy. I mean, I can't do anything. I never learned anything. I can't have a normal job. This is the only option I have. And as much as, on a movie, I always have this thing about executing plan B flawlessly. Had that solo violin not worked out, I know how to write an action score. A conventional action score. But as far as am I a film composer or am I not a film composer, there is no plan B. There isn't the-- I learned dentistry in my spare time and I can support myself that way. And I think it helps. I think there's nothing wrong with always being right at the edge of the ledge. And write from that position. I tell you these stories and they are funny and you know because they're all the funny stories because we got through it. We got through it because we failed a lot in it. The weird thing is, it doesn't matter which score you listen to that is successful and sounds easy. I mean, this stuff sounds incredibly easy. Hey, just came in one morning and there it was. It's not like that. The first thing you have to do if you decide you're going to write a piece of music or you're going to write anything is you have to make an agreement with yourself that you're going to have the courage to sit there and struggle about each little note. Because they aren't just there. You have to fight for each note. And it's going to take a long time and you're not going to go home and see your kids. You're going to miss Christmas. You're going to-- your friends are partying and you're still trying to hunt that note down. And weirdly, there's like a whole part where it gets really boring as well. You know, the invention part is fun and dangerous and reckless, and then comes the actual, OK now I've done all the thinking and the inventing. Now I have to actually go and execute it. So you have to find a balance, for instance, of not overthinking the thing because you need to keep the danger and the enthusiasm and the momentum going. Sometimes, originality and a great idea. I mean, t...

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.

Amazing and insightful words from Hanz. He is one of the greats. When it all comes down to it, it's all about execution and experimentation. Trust your ears and tell a story.

Make your own story... One day I hope to work with Hans. And my story starts right now. It's everything that came before the day you write, that leads to what you write. I'm not even sure what exactly I'm saying, but I am very happy I took this class! It is inspiring to hear Hans speak and now hopefully I can go and do/write something worth other people's time.

I've learned about some composers to listen to. I've also learned about started simple, picking only 2 or 3 colors (like Play-doh), and forcing yourself to make something with less. Honestly, there's way too much to write here in this little box. This has been GREAT!!

It's made me realize you don't need all the fancy people and studio to make a great score. I believe knowing someone as great as Hans having this mentality means anyone is capable of anything.


Dr. Monnie Chan

Concert of Hans Zimmer in Hong Kong in September was a successful one. Thousands of concert goers. Great music with gorgeous light effects.

Jerren L.

Thank you Mr. Zimmer you are life-changing and have impacted us so much this was a wonderful lesson we love you and your work God bless

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?

Kenneth S.

I think this is my favorite lesson, just for the reality-check realism of what your life as a musician-composer is. Not that I don't already know, but more that I identify with it...

Natalie F.

So intelligent. So inspiring. So real. "Take Risks"..."I am an entertainer".... No better way to say it, Thank you!

Kori C.

Very motivational, and I know if I didn't have music in my life, I'd be dead... for sure. Dramatic? Maybe, but not nearly dramatic enough. This is why I love this class. He is teaching from experience.

George C.

I can recommend Hans Zimmer Masterclass for any musician. Though the musical part of the class isn't quite covered, he just describes the basics of music production an intermediate already knows. But what I find so amazing is the motivation you get from it to keep on doing music. If you ever have a low moment, or doubts, and the mindset on how to become a successful musician, or successful in anything you want, how to get there, it's always reassuring to me how he describes it, like I can connect to him in so many ways and what he has been through, and I've been already through some of the things he mentioned. You give so much for just a little piece of light in the end. But that little light makes your whole world. And you just wanna do that, it's sucking you in, like you need to have that kind of focus to to stay with it, to make it.

Judith M.

The courage to keep going with what you love because you don't have a fallback plan. Perhaps the greatest motivation ever for any artist or entertainer. Struggling over each note or word to get the story just right. Let's hope that Doris or your muse helps out, or in the case of ladies their daimon.

Marcus M.

I like hearing that Ramin story. It goes to show that sometimes you just need to get into the room enough times and an opportunity may present itself...

Ewen S.

Passion is everything and with passion you can remain determined through the hardest of times.