PRODUCT REVIEW

Timbaland MasterClass Review: Is it Worth it?

Nash Riggins
November 3, 2021

Timbaland’s MasterClass review synopsis

What you’ll learn: This MasterClass teaches you Timbaland’s approach to making platinum hits. He explains how you can create catchy hooks, collaborate with vocalists, layer new tracks, and more.

How long does the Timbaland MasterClass take? 3 hours and 2 minutes

Similar courses: Alicia Keys, deadmau5, Christina Aguilera, Hans Zimmer, Herbie Hancock, Tom Morello

Do I recommend the Timbaland MasterClass? Yes. Timbaland’s MasterClass offers some engaging walkthroughs on the fundamentals of beat-making. There’s a lot of jargon you’ll have to wade through — but you should finish the course inspired and ready to make your own hits.

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Let’s be honest: at some point or another, all of us have listened to the radio and imagined ourselves recording a pop hit. Maybe you fancy yourself a singer, or maybe you’d love to hit the keys and make some catchy beats.

Either way, it takes a lot of skill and background knowledge to create hits. That’s why Timbaland has created this MasterClass.

During his first-ever online course, platinum beatmaker and iconic music producer Timbaland walks students through how to create a beat, the fundamental elements of a melody, collaborating with other producers to create something unique, and more.

But is the Timbaland MasterClass worth it? We certainly think so — but as always, there’s a bit more to it than that.

In this review, we’ll break down exactly what the Timbaland MasterClass has to offer, how much it costs, and the pros and cons of Timbaland’s MasterClass.

Disclosure: In the interest of full transparency, Codeless uses affiliate links in our MasterClass reviews to cover our site’s costs.

Our Verdict

Timbaland’s MasterClass provides you with a solid foundation of knowledge with which to start creating cool beats. It can be a little fast-paced, and so it might not be totally right for a beginner.

Timbaland MasterClass Become a great songwriter and music producer

$15 /month
PROS
  • The course is very practical.
  • It teaches you the basics of layering audio.
  • You get to learn about the creative process behind some iconic hits.
CONS
  • Most of us don’t have access to fancy software like Timbaland.
  • The practical side of the course is fast-paced.course workbook doesn’t really contribute to the class
  • There’s a lot of jargon. You may find yourself pausing the videos to Google a few terms.

A few frequently-asked questions…

Let’s get started by answering a few frequently asked questions about the Timbaland MasterClass.

Do I need a subscription to access this course?

Yes. If you want to access the Timbaland MasterClass, you’ll need to pay for an annual MasterClass subscription.

How long is the MasterClass?

The Timbaland MasterClass is 3 hours and 2 minutes long, and it spans 15 videos.

Does MasterClass have a cancellation policy?

MasterClass does have a cancellation policy. If you cancel within 30 days of making a purchase, you’ll get issued a full refund.

Is the Timbaland MasterClass worth it?

If you’re looking for tips on how to create beats from a Grammy-winning producer, the Timbaland MasterClass is definitely worth it. There are a few advanced concepts and bits of jargon that may be tricky for beginners — but overall, this is a comprehensive course with something for everyone.

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About Timbaland

Everybody is likely familiar with Timbaland — whether they know it or not.

Timbaland (real name Timothy Zachery Mosley) has been on the music scene for 25 years. Over that course of time, the producer has added 99 US hits, 85 UK hits, and four Grammys to his name.

He’s collaborated (and written songs) with Jay-Z, Beyonce, Missy Elliot, Ludacris, Nas, Madonna, OneRepublic, Rihanna, Drake, Alicia Keys, Drake, Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake — the list goes on and on.

An image introducing Timbaland
Timbaland and the artists he collaborated with

With that many hits under his belt, it goes without saying Timbaland is an incredibly talented songwriter and producer. But he’s not just a behind-the-scenes guy. Timbaland is also a recording artist in his own right.

Simply put: there are exceptionally few music producers in the game today with the experience and skills Timbaland has to offer. Bearing that in mind, anyone interested in writing and recording music should jump at the chance to get some one-on-one time with this certified beatmaker.

What does this MasterClass promise?

The Timbaland Teaches Producing and Beatmaking MasterClass isn’t going to turn you into a millionaire music producer overnight — but that’s not what it’s trying to do.

What the Timbaland MasterClass will do is inspire you. Over 15 videos, Tim shows how to create dope beats with nothing but an average computer, microphone, and a bit of time.

Generally speaking, Timbaland lives up to that promise in his MasterClass. But before we walk you through the course, let’s talk pricing.

How much does the Timbaland MasterClass cost?

If you want to take Timbaland’s MasterClass, you’ll have to get an annual MasterClass subscription.

At the moment, MasterClass has three different payment plans:

A pricing list for MasterClass Memberships
MasterClass plans & pricing
  • Standard Plan: The Standard Plan is $180 per year ($15 per month billed annually).

With this subscription, you can take classes using one device at a time. Each class comes with a workbook. And, there’s also bonus content, including a members-only community forum.

  • Plus Plan: This level costs $240 per year ($20 per month billed annually).

It includes everything you receive as part of the Standard Plan, but now you can access classes on two devices at the same time. Plus, videos of your classes can be downloaded for offline viewing if you’re using an iOS device.

  • Premium Plan: The Premium subscription costs $276 per year ($23 per month billed annually)

This option is great for families or businesses, as you get everything from the Plus Plan, plus the ability to watch classes on six devices at the same time.

With your annual subscription, you’ll also get access to all 100+ MasterClass courses — including other courses in songwriting, like Questlove Teaches Music Curation and DJing, Nas Teaches Hip-Hop Storytelling, deadmau5 Teaches Electronic Music Production and more.

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What’s included in the Timbaland MasterClass?

Runtime: 3 hours and 2 minutes

Course Value: 4.7/5

Lessons: 15

Supplementary materials: Workbook

Supplementary workbook

Timbaland’s MasterClass has some incredible video content, but it also includes a detailed 47-page workbook. The workbook is free to download for students of the course, and it provides you with a broad summary of each chapter as a reminder of what you’ve just learned.

A snapshot of Timbaland's MasterClass workbook
Timbaland MasterClass workbook

The most helpful element of the workbook is the sidebar for each chapter that offers a brief definition of some of the key vocabulary you’re likely to encounter in that section of the course.

The MasterClass Hub

The MasterClass Hub is a community discussion portal that students can use to chat and collaborate with each other as they work their way through the course.

Each MasterClass has its own unique “Hub,” and the Timbaland MasterClass hub covers everything from the business element of producing music to progress the students are making as they complete their homework assignments, thoughts on Timbaland’s music industry stories, and more.

A snapshot of Timbaland's MasterClass hub
Timbaland’s MasterClass hub

You can also ask questions if you’re struggling to connect the dots or you’re having tech problems. Members of the MasterClass team watch the Hub really closely and do a great job getting back to everybody with quick responses to their questions.

A complete breakdown of the Timbaland MasterClass curriculum

Timbaland’s beat-making MasterClass is split up into 15 lessons.

Some are only five minutes, while a couple of the practical lessons clock in at almost half an hour. But you can also go back and forth between different lessons to focus on the topics that matter to you.

Curriculum:

  1. Introduction
  2. Studio Session: Making a Beatbox Beat
  3. Building Beats: Tim’s Process
  4. Making a Beat: Getting Warmed Up
  5. Song Origins: “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
  6. Making a Beat: Starting With a Chord Progression
  7. Making a Beat: Tweaking and Layering Drums
  8. Song Origins: “Pony”
  9. Making a Beat: Manipulating Vocal Samples
  10. Making a Beat: Creating a Breakdown
  11. Song Origins: “Gossip Folks”
  12. Making a Beat: Adding a Topline
  13. Song Origins: “Are You That Somebody?”
  14. Tim’s Influences
  15. How to Persevere

Course summary:

Unlike a few other courses on the site, Timbaland’s MasterClass is incredibly practical.

As your creative space for learning what that work entails, Timbaland takes you to his so-called “Hit Factory.” He’s not alone, either.

One really useful lesson Tim drives home pretty early on is that beat-making is a collaborative effort — and it’s refreshing to hear a star be honest about the fact he’s no one-man show.

As a result, you won’t just be learning from Timbaland alone. The course also features input from sound engineer Chris Godbey, as well as co-producers Fede Vindever and Angel Lopez. Timbaland introduces all three contributors as part of “Team Timbo,” and they each add their own useful insights to the course.

The first studio session you’ll have is almost half an hour-long, and Team Timbo burns through basics like autotune, effects you can use to create beats, and how to layer different audio tracks.

A snapshot of Timbaland working on a soundboard during his MasterClass
Timbaland working on a soundboard

After this fast-paced studio session, Timbaland pumps the brakes for a theoretical lesson on his own creative process. But that’s not the only anecdotal video in the lesson series. There are also a couple of “Song Origins” sessions in which Timbaland explains how he wrote and produced a couple of pop music’s most iconic hits.

Tim hones in on four tracks in particular: Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” Ginuwine’s “Pony,” Missy Elliot’s “Gossip Folks,” and Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody?”.

Don’t lie: if you were born in the 90s, you probably know the words to at least one (if not all) of these songs. It’s pretty amazing to be able to hear a firsthand account of how these platinum records were created, what the artists said, and the writing process that went into it all.

Next, there are a couple more studio sessions that will give you plenty of ideas and help you develop the right skills to start producing.

A snapshot of Timbaland's computer screen while he's working on music
Timbaland screen share

There are key lessons on “Creating a Breakdown,” “Tweaking and Layering Drums,” and “Adding a Topline” that not only show you the discussion process and collaborative efforts between team members — but you also get access to the team’s screens to see what it is they’re talking about.

This screen sharing serves as a dynamic tutorial if you’ve got access to the same sort of music software Timbaland has. But he’s quick to point out that you don’t need fancy software to make a great beat. There are loads of cheap (and even free) apps out there that can get the job done.

A picture of Timbaland talking during his MasterClass
Timbaland portrait

What these lessons give you is the knowledge and basic skills to grab a device and start making music — and generally speaking, you should walk away from this course feeling inspired and ready to create something.

My fast-track lesson plan

Want to take this course but haven’t got the time? Don’t stress. Although each lesson is beneficial, these six lessons will give you the bare bones of the course, and they should give you enough information to walk away from the course able to build a beat.

Our 2-Hour Lesson Plan

2. Studio Session: Making a Beatbox Beat | 27m56s

6. Making a Beat: Starting with a Chord Progression| 12m14s

7. Making a Beat: Tweaking and Layering Drums | 19m45s

9. Making a Beat: Manipulating Vocal Samples | 9m20s

10. Making a Beat: Creating a Breakdown | 19m21s

12: Making a Beat: Adding a Topline | 22m12s

Total runtime = 1 hour 59 minutes

Key things I learned after taking this MasterClass

I dove into Timbaland’s MasterClass as a big hip-hop fan with little knowledge of music production. After three hours, I logged out of this MasterClass feeling determined — but I also learned a few important things about the basics of songwriting.

5 takeaways from this MasterClass

Here are my top five takeaways from the Timbaland MasterClass:

1. Music is a collaborative effort.

One of the most refreshing things about this MasterClass is how open Timbaland is about giving credit to others. He’s really transparent about who helps him, and you get to witness firsthand how he works with his team to create a beat.

2. Great breakdowns make a beat.

In a lot of rock songs, you’ll be familiar with a bridge after the chorus where the band switches things up. In hip-hop and chart music, this is called a “breakdown,” and it works a little bit differently than a traditional, four-chord bridge.

This MasterClass gave me all the fundamentals I needed to understand what a breakdown is and why it’s so important.

3. Even simple beats are complicated.

One of the most useful aspects of this MasterClass was getting to see just how much layering and manipulation goes into creating a basic hip-hop beat. It takes a lot of work to make the backing track behind a big hit — and Timbaland’s class shows you in detail how to layer effectively.

4. Hits need to be both unique and familiar.

Timbaland’s lesson in “Adding a Topline” does a fantastic job explaining why all the chart-toppers you know and love feature unique vocals. But in each song, there are familiar elements that echo songs or melodies before it. This gives the song a cool edge — but also the added comfort of familiarity for listeners.

5. You’ve got to keep moving forward.

One of the reasons Timbaland has got so many hits to his name is because he doesn’t dwell on the past. According to Tim, the best thing you can do after creating a great song is to hit the decks and create another one. Don’t be complacent.

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Memorable quotes from this MasterClass

“Everybody has a different swing. That’s what makes producers unique.”

Lesson 7 | Making a Beat: Tweaking and Layering Drums

“When the feeling takes over, it takes over. You don’t think about it. You just go.”

Lesson 9 | Making a Beat: Manipulating Vocal Samples

“Sometimes stuff comes in small packages. You don’t need a lot. It’s all about the feeling, the voice, the sonics.”

Lesson 10 | Making a Beat: Creating a Breakdown

Timbaland MasterClass pros and cons

Timbaland’s beat-making class is incredibly useful, but it’s important to note there are a few pros and cons.

The pros and cons of the Timbaland MasterClass

Pros

  • The course is very practical.
  • It teaches you the basics of layering audio.
  • You get to learn about the creative process behind some iconic hits.

Cons

  • Most of us don’t have access to fancy software like Timbaland.
  • The practical side of the course is fast-paced.
  • There’s a lot of jargon. You may find yourself pausing the videos to Google a few terms.

Do I recommend this MasterClass?

Yes. Overall, Timbaland’s MasterClass provides you with a solid foundation of knowledge with which to start creating cool beats. It can be a little fast-paced, and so it might not be totally right for a beginner.

But if you want to learn how some of the biggest hits were written, what it takes to be a music producer, and how to collaborate with other artists, this course is definitely worth the money.

Start the Timbaland MasterClass