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Timbaland MasterClass Review: Producing and Beatmaking

Check out our honest review of Timbaland’s MasterClass and determine whether it’s the type of class you’re looking for.

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Timbaland Teaches Producing and Beatmaking: Our Verdict (2024)


4.4 / 5

Timbaland’s MasterClass covers the basics of producing and beatmaking. The iconic producer opens the doors of his studio and demonstrates how we make songs from scratch. He talks about samples, beats, and vocal melodies, and breaks down the thought process behind some of his biggest hits.


  • Learning from a legendary producer
  • Practical tips
  • Being a part of the process
  • Useful resources


  • It can get a bit vague
  • An unclear target audience

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As long as you love music, you’re welcome to this world of producing.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if Timbaland’s MasterClass was for me. Although I know the basics of music production, I’m not a producer, and I don’t own fancy studio equipment.

But Timbaland’s infectious beats marked the teenage years of millennials like me. And what’s fascinating is that some of his hit songs still sound so fresh… It was a good time for the music industry, for sure.

So, how did Timbaland create such iconic moments?

What’s the thought process behind his songs, and what does his typical studio session look like?

His MasterClass offers a chance to get answers to all of these questions, so I decided to take it, despite my initial doubts.

In this honest review, I’ll give you my thoughts on its content, Timbaland’s teaching style, and the overall impression I got.

Table of Contents

What is the Timbaland MasterClass?

Timbaland Teaches Producing and Beatmaking” is an online course offered by MasterClass, a popular learning platform known for its team of well-known instructors.

Timbaland is one of the most successful record producers responsible for countless Top 40 hits. He has produced for music icons such as Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Nelly Furtado, Jay-Z, and Rihanna, and has worked with artists like Chris Cornell and Björk.

Timbaland’s influence on the music industry is undeniable, and his MasterClass sums up who he is as a producer. He teaches about samples and fine-tuning drum sounds, collaboration, directing vocalists, and generally building infectious beats.

The course contains 15 video lessons with a duration of 3 hours and 2 minutes, and it’s a mixture of studio sessions, one-to-one lessons, and song breakdowns.

Timbaland speaking in his MasterClass

Who is Timbaland?

Timothy Zachery Mosley, known professionally as Timbaland, is an American record producer known for collaborating with many famous artists. He has worked with Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, and Madonna, just to name a few.

Timbaland began his producing career in the mid-1990s, mainly producing for R&B acts. He had his major breakthrough with Aalyah’s album One in a Million and Ginuwine’s debut album Ginuwine…the Bachelor. He went on to produce for high-profile hip-hop artists like Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, and Nas and eventually established himself as one of the best producers in the industry.

He is also regarded as one of the most distinctive and innovative producers of the early 2000s, delivering a “stuttering” rhythmic style and recognizable beats.

Who is Timbaland’s MasterClass for?

“As long as you love music, you’re welcome to this world of producing,” says Timbaland at the beginning of the course.

Well, that was encouraging enough for me – and I needed some encouragement.

But as the course went on, I realized that people who have no knowledge of music production would probably feel a bit confused. Tim goes straight into the production process and you can see him doing his magic in his program, but he doesn’t actually explain what he’s doing.

He did point it out in the introductory lesson – this course isn’t a music production software tutorial.

On the other hand, he tackles some basic stuff, and the course feels like it’s generally geared towards beginners.

That being said, it’s hard to say what the target audience for this class is.

In terms of style and genres, any producer can benefit from Tim’s lessons, but the more you’re fond of his genres of music, the better.

So, in my opinion, here are some of the people who would benefit from this course:

  • Fans of Timbaland’s work and similar styles of music
  • Aspiring producers
  • Beginners with some previous knowledge
  • Anyone seriously interested in beatmaking and music production

What does Timbaland's MasterClass cover?

Timbaland’s MasterClass covers the entire process of making a track, from creating a chord progression to adding vocals.

In a way, I was a fly on the wall in Tim’s so-called Hit Factory – carefully observing how he brainstorms with his team and builds a track.

However, Tim doesn’t teach how to use Serato or other music production software programs. So although some experience isn’t a must, it would actually save you from a lot of question marks.

Nevertheless, the course is easy to follow, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced producer.

Plus, it includes insightful ‘Song Origin’ lessons that offer an exclusive look at the creations of some of Tim’s hits.

Now, here is what you can expect from each lesson in terms of content:

  • Lesson 1 is an introductory lesson where Tim describes the course and jumps into the booth to create an entire track with just his voice (beatboxing) and a microphone.
  • Lesson 2 is a studio session where Tim and his team start working on a song.
  • Lesson 3 delves deeper into Tim’s production process.
  • Lesson 4 is focused on collaboration and inspiration.
  • Lesson 5 is a ‘Song Origins’ lesson where Tim recalls how he built the backing track for Jay-Z’s hit “Dirt Off Your Shoulder.”
  • Lesson 6 deals with chord progressions.
  • Lesson 7 is a part where Tim explains how to tweak and layer drums.
  • Lesson 8 is another ‘Song Origins’ chapter where Tim breaks down the iconic hit “Pony” he created with Ginuwine.
  • Lesson 9 is focused on manipulating vocal samples.
  • Lesson 10 shows how to create a breakdown.
  • Lesson 11 deals with Timbaland’s collaboration with Missy Elliott, especially on the track “Gossip Folks.”
  • Lesson 12 contains the process of creating a vocal melody or “topline.”
  • Lesson 13 is focused on the creation of Aalyah’s song “Are You That Somebody?”
  • Lesson 14 is about Tim’s influences.
  • Lesson 15 features Tim’s final thoughts and advice.

My favorite parts of Timbaland’s MasterClass

Although you really need to be into beatmaking (and even beatboxing) to fully immerse yourself in Timbaland’s MasterClass, I found it quite fun and insightful.

Tim is a good teacher, passionate and positive, and although he isn’t very descriptive (he admits it at one point), he managed to convey knowledge in his own way.

The course is also well-structured, and each lesson has a specific learning goal.

And here are some of the chapters I particularly liked.

Building beats: Tim’s process

Timbaland speaking in his MasterClass
Timbaland discussing his beatmaking process

In this immersive lesson, Tim describes his process of finding the right sample. He talks about his workflow and the tools he uses to stay organized.

It was cool to see how he starts making songs. Although there’s no formula for making a good beat, some of his insights might help you in your own process.

The good thing about Tim’s lessons is that he demonstrates everything he is talking about, which makes the whole course easier to understand.

Song origins: Dirt Off Your Shoulder

Timbaland speaking in his MasterClass
Tim recalling the creation of “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”

Tim is known for his successful collabs, and this is certainly one of the most memorable ones.

The lesson starts with Tim and Jay-Z in the studio listening to the first beats of “Dirt Off Your Shoulder.” The chapter then develops into Tim’s analysis of sound effects and elements that created the essence of the song. 

Making a beat: Adding a topline

Timbaland recording vocals on a track
Timbaland improvising in the booth

This lesson is dedicated to vocal melodies or toplines. Tim invited a vocalist, Adrian Mitchell, to join him in the studio, where he improvised some melodies. Tim then recorded certain parts as well.

I was actually surprised by how much of a song comes from improv sessions like this one.  

How much does the MasterClass cost?

MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, so it’s not possible to purchase courses individually. If you want to take this MasterClass, you have to become a subscriber.

The standard annual plan has been renamed "Plus" and is available at $120 a year (which makes it $10 per month, billed annually), and now provides access to all MasterClass courses on two devices instead of one. The Premium plan, providing access for up to six devices costs $240 per year.

A MasterClass subscription gives you unlimited access to a catalog of 200+ classes, so if you want to take multiple classes throughout the year, the subscription is definitely worth it, and there are pleny of interesting courses on related topics to explore.

Also, the platform offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.

Note that the "Standard" membership, priced at $72 per year, only gives you access to their short-form learning content – none of their full MasterClasses are included.

What I liked about Timbaland’s MasterClassTimb

Although this class doesn’t provide everything you need to know to start producing music, it offers insights and stories that might inspire you to learn more.

In fact, the course provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Timbaland’s songs are made, and that’s not something you’ll see in every production class.

But it all depends on your needs and expectations.  

Now, here are some of the reasons why you might want to consider taking Tim’s class.

Learning from a legendary producer

One of the best things about MasterClass is the possibility to learn from living legends. And when it comes to beatmaking and production of unforgettable 2000s hits, there’s no one more iconic than Timbaland. 

Apart from sharing his wisdom, Timbaland also has plenty of stories to tell, including his collaboration with Jay-Z, Aaliyah, and others. I do wish he had included more anecdotes and stories from that era, but I guess that would have made the course significantly longer.

Practical tips

As I mentioned before, Timbaland teaches but showing rather than telling. While that might not be a good thing for some of the learners who need more thorough explanations, I think it’s actually quite useful.

Being a part of the process

The majority of the course is comprised of studio sessions and Tim’s conversation with his co-producers, Fede Vindever and Angel Lopez. This allowed me to become a part of their production process and to learn by observing.

Useful resources

The course comes with a PDF class guide as well as additional audio files and mixes.

For instance, Tim and his crew work on a track in the course, and you can download the completed version of a track along with some stems in the resources section.

Drawbacks of Timbaland’s MasterClass

Well, there are also some things that could be improved…

It can get a bit vague

Although you can learn many practical stuff because Tim demonstrates everything he is talking about, he often doesn’t really delve deeper into what he is doing.

Also, some of Tim’s advice and explanations would get a bit vague. It would perhaps be better if he provided more concrete examples or personal stories to back up his tips and opinions.  For ambitious producers who want to enter the industry, “It’s a vibe” or “you just need to feel it” sometimes isn’t enough.

An unclear target audience

Timbaland isn’t a one-man show. He works with his co-producers, and he works in a professional environment with expensive equipment.

The majority of MasterClass learners don’t have the same working conditions. Most of them work alone, with their laptop and music production software.

That being said, I think it might be difficult for many learners to follow Timbaland’s guidelines or to find his process relatable. On the other hand, the course often feels like it’s geared toward novices, which leads me to the conclusion that the target audience of this course isn’t very clear.

Is the course best suited for producers with a high-end home recording studio and a crew? Is it best for beginners who want to see how things work? It’s probably for both and for no one in particular.

Review conclusion: Is Timbaland’s MasterClass worth it?

At the end of the day, I’m glad I took Timbaland’s course.

After all, how often do you get a chance to learn from one of the most iconic producers of our time?

It was interesting to hear how some of Timbaland’s songs came to life, and the format of studio session lessons allowed me to become a part of that process for a while.

Tim is clearly very passionate about his beats, and he hears music in his head before he creates it in the studio. Therefore, it’s often difficult for him to describe exactly how he does it – he teaches by showing, not telling – which is a part of a teaching style that isn’t for everyone.

Nevertheless, Tim managed to cover a lot of ground in his class. He provided a nice balance between talking about music and making music, and he showed what skills (and what mindset) you need to have to be a successful producer.