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Every year, when THR surveys key figures in the entertainment industry to determine the most-in-demand music schools in the world, a debate ensues: Are traditional music institutions more valuable than the school of hard knocks? To be sure, the institutions on this annual list offer students the benefits of rigorous instruction and valuable industry access. But one venue that should almost rank as a music school is Hans Zimmer's Remote Control Productions, which has probably mentored more A-list composers — from John Powell (Solo: A Star Wars Story) to Harry Gregson-Williams (The Meg) — than most top-ranked conservatories.
Composer Henry Jackman studied everywhere from St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir School to Eton College and Oxford, and worked on record production with Trevor Horn, but he credits Remote Control with honing the skills he’s put to work on movie projects like Kong: Skull Island and Captain America: Civil War.
“The thing about Hans is it’s more like a medieval [apprenticeship]," he says. "if you wanted to be a goldsmith and you’re lucky enough that your dad knows the goldsmith, you get thrown in and there they all are with a big furnace doing all these intricate things, and you start pouring water in the furnace on day one and at the end of the year if you’re any good you might be working on some gold pieces — and if you’re not you get thrown out.”
The only problem: The odds of landing a spot at Remote Control are slim without some solid industry connections. For aspiring composers without friends in high places, the best bet is still an established music school. To compile the annual ranking of the world's elite music programs, THR weighed various factors — alumni, facilities, overall reputation — and relied on the results of a survey sent to more than 600 industry professionals, including members of the Society of Composers & Lyricists, and the music branches of AMPAS and the TV Academy. Tuition figures are for one year and, unless stated otherwise, apply to undergrad degrees.
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