Pharrell Williams Masterclass with Students at NYU Clive Davis Institute. (Free on Youtube)
Best For: Producing pop songs.
Pharrell Williams’ NYU Masterclass is famous for introducing the world to Maggie Rogers. They premiered her song Alasksa to the class and Pharrell’s reaction was priceless. Watching him hear it for the first time is priceless. Pharrell spends time with the class listening to original mixes, he also offers his notes. His feedback is thoughtful and creative. It offers a glimpse into how popular music producers think, and how you can look at pop songs in a new way.
The class starts with a 5-minute interview between Pharrell and the class professor. It’s a nice alternative to a conventional interview. He actually asks questions producers want to know.
Jimmy Iovine Interview with Complex (Youtube Free)
Best For: Getting Motivated.
This is more an interview, not a traditional masterclass. The ‘Complex | Blueprint’ series offers key factors in a successful creator journey. They do this by highlighting takeaways from real-world examples in interviews. Key points like what understanding fear means, and also what dedication means.
The biggest takeaway from this video: there is no greater motivator than fear. Find a way to harness fear and use it as a motivator.
Timbaland Mix With The Masters
Best For: Finding a fit in a crowded space and knowing when it’s done.
For many music makers, a beloved pastime is to go down the Youtube rabbit hole of Timbaland in his studio. You can find him writing hits with Jay-Z, Diddy, Justin Timberlake, Ludacris, and more. That said, it’s rare to find quality content of him speaking about his process.
The most fascinating thing in this video is finding out that he doesn’t quantize his beats. Timbaland goes by how it feels. Quantizing a beat is when recording software adjusts a recording to be perfectly in time. It’s also done by about 99.99% of the pop music market. Not Timbaland though. He said “if its syncopated it felt funny”
Jacob Collier Qwest Masterclass
Best For: Getting Technical
The Jacob Collier Qwest Masterclass is both awesome and confusing. He spends the first 4 minutes talking about the nuances of triads. What more can you ask for?
Eat your heart out here if you are into technical compositions and theory. He’s a wizard.
Taylor Hawkins BBC Masterclass
Best For: Remember your heroes
You’ll like this if you’re a Foo Fighters fan because it’s mostly Taylor Hawkins’ musical journey from a child to now. Taylor does a great job of talking about artists he grew up with while focusing his stories on the drum sounds.
It’s interesting to see how an artist’s musical influences factor into their sound. It speaks to the “don’t forget where you came from” mantra.
Notable paid Masterclasses…..
Alicia Keys Masterclass (Paid)
Best For: Finding meaning and feel.
We like the Alicia Keys Masterclass because it discusses the biggest non-technical nuance of music: the feel. Feel can be hard to teach. Alicia Keys does a good job of describing how finds and translates feel in her music, and how you can as well. You can also translate her music lessons into some life lessons. Read More About It Here.