From Hans Zimmer's MasterClass

Life of a Composer: Part 1

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.

Topics include: Backup Plans • Courage • Risks


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.

Topics include: Backup Plans • Courage • Risks

Hans Zimmer

Teaches Film Scoring

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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.

It would be nice if we got notifications when our comments got replies. Apart from that, it's great to connect with so many music minded people!

Have to watch it 3 more times .... Hans is the smartest Composer working today .... Be Experimental like him !!!!!

Very complete. Full of detailed examples. In a strange way, wise too.

Great insight into the composer's role in achieving the creative vision of the director. The creative process / film scoring occurs within the boundaries delineated by the story, which is ultimately what the composer helps paint.


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.

Matthew E.

Even if there were a 100 Hans Zimmer's, they all couldn't sit at the top, nor would they all be in need for the projects they deserve. The odd's of becoming a Hans Zimmer is next to impossible. However, the odds of becoming successful in what you do depends on how you define success. Be you, love what you do, and never have the Plan B. If you fail, it's because you moved on. Otherwise, how can you fail if you never stopped doing what you love?

Julie S.

It's good to have other people along to help get us out of some of our messes. Just a thought about what he'd said at the end. The other thing is, not I don't feel so bad for working on my music when all seemed lost!

Donovan R.

Fighting for each note...this is what Stephen Pressfield calls "The War or Art." How hard is it? It was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to pursue his art career. Food for thought.