Arts & Entertainment, Music

Working With Musicians: The Orchestra - Part 1

Hans Zimmer

Lesson time 10:36 min

Hans discusses the important of earning your musicians' respect and how to effectively communicate with them.

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

Topics include: Respect • Communicating with the Orchestra


Anybody can learn how to use a computer, and how to make sounds. And anybody can learn how to orchestrate. You can go to music school. You can learn how to play. These are all things that are being taught constantly. But I think one of the great things that's missing is how do you have the conversation. How not to be afraid. It actually takes a bit of getting used to-- like you and me right now having this simple conversation while there's a huge crew floating around, behind us. And we're pretending they're not here. But that's not what we're doing. We're actually doing the opposite. We're doing-- everybody is here to support us, doing something great. And that's the same with composing. So when you stand in front of the orchestra, know that they are there to support you, and make it the best. As opposed to being worried about all that. But it takes a bit of time. And you have to sort of earn their respect as well. I remember the first few times having the orchestra, and it was literally like lion taming. You walk out there, and they're just looking at you going, so what do you know? And the only way you can prove it is just by writing a decent tune, or having a decent idea. There are these two percussionists in London, Frank Ricotti and Gary Kettel. They play pretty much on every movie that ever existed. I think from before Star Wars on. So they played on everything. And secretly, my ambition, every time I record a score there, is to just find one thing that they haven't done before. And usually it's like, well, if you were to hit the temps with brushes. And at first you get, that'll never work. And then if you're lucky, they go out there and they do it. And they go, wow, Hans, that sounds really good. We've never done this before. So every time, just push it forward a bit. And if you push it forward a bit, they love you for it. Because the musicians are your biggest allies. They are the ones ultimately-- this is just me playing around on a computer. Ultimately, the real musicians give it something that no machine can do. When you get to the orchestra session, and this is partly why I do these demos, why I do these suites, why we mocked the whole movie up, why we have showed it to an audience. So that by the time we get to the orchestra section, we are on very, very solid ground. Because when I first got to Hollywood, people were just writing on paper. And the first time the director really would hear the thing would be either somebody had played it to him on piano, which is not quite the same as when you have a 120-piece orchestra blasting away at you. Some people can do it brilliantly. Obviously John Williams could do it brilliantly, because he is an amazing pianist. And the relationship he has with Steven Spielberg allows that, where John can play and go, this is where the French h...

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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