10 Tips For Success from A Genius Composer

About two weeks ago, my family and I went to the Hans Zimmer Live concert.  Most people don't know who Hans Zimmer is, yet I'd be willing to bet that if I rattled off a few of the 150+ movie scores he's composed for, you would likely recognize his music.   He's composed music for Gladiator, A Thin Red Line, Lion King, Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Thelma and Louise, Wonder Woman, Pirates of the Caribbean...just to name a few.

This was, hands down, one of the best music concerts I have ever had the privilege to watch because it wasn't just Hans performing...it was an entire team of incredibly talented musicians.  He must have had 40+ people on stage with a full band (seven people of which were dedicated to percussion alone!), an orchestra and a choir!  It was amazing to see someone who had the rare talent of being able to create and execute upon his vision.

I went to see another big name concert earlier this year that about broke the bank in terms of ticket prices, and I believe the Hans Zimmer concert blew the socks off that concert.  You could certainly tell the difference between musicians creating and sharing music to make a living or to promote their political and social messages vs. Hans and his entire ensemble, who created and shared their music for the pure joy and beauty it provides to themselves and others.

Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer.  Photo: IMDB.com

I was curious how this man, named on the list of Top 100 Living Geniuses, published by The Daily Telegraph, was able to pull everything together - namely, creativity and execution.  And this is coming from a man who says he was mostly "self taught" in music after getting kicked out of 8 schools*.  I then stumbled upon Evan Carmichael's YouTube channel, and in particular his video "Hans Zimmer's Top 10 Rules for Success".  I highly recommend watching it, but for those without 20 minutes to spare, I'll summarize his rules below:

1. Love What You Do

This was apparent from almost all of the musicians on stage; that each of them loved being up on stage performing and playing.  Some of his musicians played over 4 or 5 different instruments, many of them playing without reference to any sheet music.  Almost all of them knew every. single. note or beat. from their heart.

2. Have The Courage To Fail

I've found that those who fail a lot in life, especially early in their life, are more willing to take risks and go out on a limb.  Hans didn't like the formality of piano lessons and gave them up after two weeks.  And he was kicked out of several schools.  But that clearly didn't stop him from creating.

3. Commit Passionately

Having that passion in your work or dream helps fuel your desire to get up and keep going, even when you've failed.

4. Find A Great Team 

The ability to find and motivate a great team is the one tool that allows you to combine creativity with flawless execution.   I noticed several times during the concert, he would highlight, complement and talk about the musicians who helped pull his vision together.

5. Dare to Do Something Completely Different 

This is part of the creative process, to be willing to try new things or to get up and switch gears.

6. Put In The Effort Necessary

Hans says that the old adage that it takes "10,000 hours" to become a master at something rings true in his life.

7. Face Your Fears...and
Be Willing To Laugh At Yourself

Trying new things and going in different direction requires you to overcome your fears.  In particular, the fear of failure.

8. Stretch Your (and Your Team's) Limits

Hans mentioned that one of the greatest compliments he has ever received, worth more than the Academy Awards he has received, is when his team tells him that they've never done that before.  He loves to motivate and push his team out of their comfort zone to grow together.

9. Find Mentors To Guide You

Hans had several mentors growing up and he contributes part of his success to being surrounded by really smart people to help guide you.

10. Take Action...Create Your Masterpiece!

This is the key to it all!  If you don't act on your vision or dreams, you'll never get anywhere.  You have a masterpiece inside you, just waiting to come out and be shared with the world.  So Hans recommends...get to work!


*Source: Wikipedia.
Special thanks to Evan Carmichael for his video.   To check out his YouTube channel, click here.
To see a glimpse of Han's amazing concert, check out some of videos on YouTube.  I recommend listening to his song "Aurora", which he played during the concert and dedicated to those who lost their lives in Aurora, Colorado tragedy during the premiere of The Dark Knight.


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