Arts & Entertainment, Music

Life of a Composer: Part 2

Hans Zimmer

Lesson time 09:25 min

Hans continues his discussion on an artist's life, telling you why he was inspired to pursue the life of a composer in the first place.

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Topics include: Voice • Talent • An Artist's Life


The thing with all of us musicians are being taught, as are all artists are being taught, is find your voice. All right? I remember reading Keith Jarrett talking about this, going everybody was telling him to find his voice. And he's going, I got my voice. I was born with my musical voice. And he was much more interested in what he can use it for, you know? So I don't think I was born with it. But through my cultural influences, where I'm from, what I listened to as a kid, just the way I learned an accent, I have an accent. I have a voice. And when I want to do the blues in "Thelma and Louise," I can do the blues, and it's still my voice. And if stick with Ridley, if I want to go into faux Roman music in "Gladiator," or faux Wagnerian music, it still sounds like me. So rather than trying to find your voice, just acknowledge that it's there, and just listen to it. It's like, recognize it. I remember having some weird fight, undoubtedly about scheduling, which is where things usually get unstuck with me, with Gore Verbinski. And my music editor, Melissa, coming in afterwards, and she's going, oh Gore's really pissed off. And he said he'd fire your sorry ass, except for when you sit down and you play those moody chords. And so, he's-- [PLAYS MOODY CHORDS] You know? Just don't fire me, because I'll play some moody chords for you that might-- [PLAYS MOODY CHORDS] Now I don't play virtuosic, but I have an aesthetic, and I have a feel, and you know-- [PLAYS MOODY CHORD] When my fingers land on the piano, it's different than when somebody else's fingers land on the piano. I don't know if I believe in talent. People keep saying to me oh, he's really talented, or this guy is really talented, or this woman is just an amazing talent. And then when I investigate a little bit further, it turns out it's just somebody who works really, really hard, and really dedicated, and makes their life about something we are passionate about. And at the same time, just being passionate about something doesn't mean you're any good at it. You see it all the time, that you think you think somebody is a talent, and they do something really remarkable. And you go, and what's the next thing you're going to do? And that's sort of nothing. That happens time and time again, where people can create one great thing and then it stops. And the whole point is it's not maybe so much about talent, but it's about what's the next thing? The first thing, yeah, of course you're going to write the greatest album. Because as a teenager, when you join a band, your first 17 years of experience is all going to get packed into that first song. And yeah, there should be enough material there to make something great. Or the first movie you make. Of course it's going to be great, because there's all that. But it's the second movie which is tricky, and the third movie which is tricky. And I think that's wh...

About the Instructor

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.

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Hans Zimmer

From collaborating to scoring, Hans Zimmer teaches you how to tell a story with music in 31 exclusive video lessons.

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