MasterClass Review (2020): Is it Worth it? My Verdict

Posted 20 May 2020, by

Victoria Hughes

MasterClass in a Nutshell

EXCELLENT (4.8/5)
4.8/5

Pros

  • A-list celebrity instructors
  • Video production quality is amazing
  • Lessons are insightful and entertaining
  • The All-Access Pass is great value for money

Cons

  • Interaction with the instructor is limited
  • The community is hit and miss

Bottom Line

MasterClass is exploding in popularity⁠. The instructors are household names, the video quality is amazing, and the lessons genuinely insightful. 

What I liked most about MasterClass was that learning from the best helped me pursue my own creativity. I became a better storyteller and even learned to whip up some epic scrambled eggs.

After taking 5 classes in full, my MasterClass review will help you decide if it’s worth it for you.

The All-Access Pass costs $180 for one year

MasterClass has been making waves recently thanks to their brand new approach to online education.

Every single one of their teachers is a global leader in their field.

As a writer, I’m always looking for new ways to improve my craft. So when I found out two of my all time heroes, Neil Gaiman and Malcolm Gladwell, were teaching on MasterClass, I knew I had to check it out.

And let’s face it: I’ve been spending a lot more time at home because of the coronavirus. I needed to bring some inspiration into my life.

In my MasterClass review, you’ll learn exactly how it works, my experience taking 5 different classes in full, and what I think are the 9 best MasterClasses you can take in 2020.

This is an honest MasterClass review by an online education fanatic. While I LOVE learning new things, I also want to get a bang for my buck and make sure my time is well spent.

Let’s find out whether MasterClass delivered on these things for me…

(This review contains affiliate links which means any purchases may earn us a commission—at no extra cost to you. However, it’s still an honest review by an online education fanatic).

What is MasterClass?

MasterClass was founded in 2015 by entrepreneur David Rogier and inventor Aaron Rasmussen. They thought that there was a huge reserve of knowledge in the heads of experts that was untapped, and that sharing it would, “in a small way, make the world a bit more equal.”

I’m all for equality, especially if it gives me access to genius!

Their aim was to produce classes that have:

  • Teachers who are the absolute best in the world at what they do
  • High production values comparable with Netflix or TED talks
  • Genuinely insightful lessons that you can’t get anywhere else.

Five years later they’ve done everything they said and more. There are now 80+ famous instructors who have created MasterClasses and the platform is adding several more every month.

After diving into 5 totally different classes (more about them below), I was impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of the A-list instructors. They all seemed to get a genuine kick out of explaining their craft to us.

Taking a MasterClass wasn’t going to turn me into a celebrity any time soon. But that’s not the reason I signed up.

What I like about MasterClass is that it gave me the inspiration to pursue my own creativity—even if that just meant being a better storyteller or learning to whip up some epic scrambled eggs.

How MasterClass works

You can expect the following from a typical class:

  • Video lessons from the instructor. Most classes contain 20 to 25 lessons, which provides about 3 to 5 hours of video content in total.
  • Workbooks. The workbooks summarize the key points of each video lesson, and provide extra references and sometimes homework assignments.
  • Access to the community. You can join discussions, share your own work, and connect with other students taking this class.

The lessons are structured so that even if you’re a beginner you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned to your own life right away.

Here’s a lesson plan from Helen Mirren’s class:

MasterClass Review– Helen Mirren chapter list

I’m such a bad actor that I was the only kid to get kicked out of the Christmas pageant at school, but after trying a couple of her activities I actually felt a lot more comfortable and confident.

Helen Mirren would be proud of me.

Let’s break down the key aspects of each MasterClass a little more so you’ll know what to expect.

The videos

The videos are the standout feature of MasterClass.

I was totally blown away by the production values and the amount of work that’s obviously gone into every single video. The camerawork, lighting, music and of course the instructors themselves made the videos an absolute joy to watch.

Take a look at the trailer for Serena Williams’ course above and you’ll see what I mean.

The videos are usually between 5 and 20 minutes, so it was pretty easy to fit one in at lunch time or on my commute. Whenever I switched between my laptop and phone it automatically saved my progress.

In the writing courses there’s a lot of talking, but I also got to see the instructors reading aloud, drawing, and illustrating their ideas on paper.

The cooking and chess classes had a lot more practical demonstrations so that I could follow along in my own kitchen at the same time.

Workbooks

The workbooks are available to download as a PDF and are as beautifully made as the rest of the classes. They have a summary of everything that’s said in the videos plus extra references, so you don’t have to take notes as you watch.

My writing hand was grateful.

Some contained assignments to put what I’d just learned into practice; everything from research at the library to shopping for ingredients to trying to mimic another writer’s voice.

I way underestimated how hard these were going to be; all of them were practical stuff that got me out of the house and actually learning hands-on.

I will say that some of the homework was a bit weird.

One of Werner Herzog’s assignments involved walking exactly 100 miles from home and documenting everything you see. I like walking but that’s a three-day hike.

Sorry Werner, I skipped that one.

The workbooks included links to a lot of useful resources. I was really impressed that these are much more than just reading material.

For example, Christina Aguilera recommends an app that tests your vocal range and shows you how to use it to measure your progress as you go through the course.

Gordon Ramsey’s class uses an interactive guide to seasonal vegetables; put in your location and the date and it tells you what to buy.

Access to the community

MasterClass has created a community called The Hub to interact (and even network) with other class members.

You can use The Hub to:

  • Post your writing assignments, photographs, or demo tape and get feedback from the other students.
  • Get into deep discussions and analysis.
  • Find practice buddies in the chess and poker forums.

I found the comments on the writing courses generally thoughtful and helpful. The other students were people who were serious about improving and they made an effort to give me useful feedback. It was like taking part in a college seminar.

However, overall the community feature was probably my least favorite feature of MasterClass. More on that below.

How much does MasterClass cost?

The MasterClass All-Access Pass costs $180 per year.

This gives you access to every class on the platform as well as any new class that is added. And MasterClass seem to be adding new classes on an almost weekly basis.

MasterClass used to offer individual classes for $90 but they stopped providing this option in May 2020.

Unfortunately, MasterClass also don’t offer a free trial period. However, there is a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not completely happy.

Is $180 good value?

When you consider that you’re being taught by some of the most recognizable names in their fields, I think $180 is a compelling price.

Each MasterClass has between 3 and 5 hours of video content, so per hour it’s still much cheaper than any college course.

And my local college doesn’t have James Patterson and Christina Aguilera on the staff.

The All-Access Pass also gives you access to Quick Lists, which is a way to explore video lessons from different instructors and learn specific skills. This feature is massively useful, and I’m going to talk more about that below.

Even if you’re only interested in taking classes from one or two instructors, having access to every instructor on the MasterClass platform is still a huge bonus.

My experience taking 5 MasterClasses

To write the most comprehensive MasterClass review possible, I have sampled 20+ classes over the last few months.

However, I have taken 5 MasterClasses in full. Here’s what they were like.

Neil Gaiman review

Neil Gaiman is many things. He is an author, journalist, and blogger, but, once upon a time, he was a failed writer who desperately wanted to fit into the literary world.

After years of hard work and learning, he is now listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as ‘one of the top ten living post-modern writers.’

And with good reason.

From his groundbreaking series Sandman to his confronting dark, children’s book Coraline, and into his very popular Norse Mythology and American Gods, Neil has created a strong foundation for readers and writers alike.

I’ve been a huge Neil Gaiman fan for years, and with the TV adaptation of Good Omens recently arriving on Amazon Prime Video, I thought this would be the perfect chance to learn at the feet of the master.

What I learned from Neil’s course:

  • Sources of inspiration. Neil discusses how to get inspired to create and he goes through some techniques to assist with finding fresh ideas when you think you’re stuck. Most importantly, he explains why you need to build a ‘compost heap’, which is a dumping ground for the quirks, words, and appearances of those around you.
  • Developing character. Step-by-step, Neil walks you through the process he uses to go from a vague idea to a fully formed person walking around inside your head. What kind of physical quirks do they have? How do they talk?
  • Descriptions. How do you make your setting come alive without your audience getting bored? Neil talks about using all five senses to create a vivid mental image and how memorable details can provoke strong feelings. He also shares the most important tip of all: don’t tell the writer how to feel. As he states, “if I leave you crying because I just killed a unicorn, I’m not going to tell you how sad the death of the unicorn was.”
  • Humor. Since everyone needs a laugh sometimes, Neil shares some of the ways he makes his stories funny and surprising, and how you can twist a cliché to make it work for you. And it might not be in the way you assume. Try spotting the cliché’s he uses in his books!

More than anything, I learned that everything involves storytelling, even song lyrics. I’m not going to be writing a bestselling novel any time soon, but does good copy writing also involve storytelling?

Of course.

So does giving a speech or pitching a project or anything that involves holding your audience’s attention.

Because storytelling is important in many areas of life, I can’t think of a situation where I won’t use this class.

You can read Isabel Cabrera’s full Neil Gaiman MasterClass review here.

Kelly Wearstler review

As I write this review of Kelly Wearstler’s MasterClass, we’re in the middle of a seemingly endless global pandemic. And as a result, millions of us have been spending more time than ever at home.

Is your home a sanctuary? Or are you climbing the walls dreaming of escape?

Interior design is a remarkably powerful way to create the kind of atmosphere you want in your space. In her class, Kelly Wearstler teaches you how to use color, texture, pattern, lighting, and more to transform your home according to your aesthetic vision.

As Kelly herself says in the intro, “Good design is important because it helps us live better; it helps us feel better.”

Here are some of my main takeaways from Kelly’s course:

  • Embrace your space: Now that I’m spending more time at home, I sometimes feel as if the walls are closing in around me. But Kelly’s class helped me adjust my attitude and appreciate the space I do have. Even awkward nooks and crannies can be incorporated into a design aesthetic.
  • Tell a story: Kelly discusses her design process, which often involves researching the history of a building and its surroundings and using this deeper history to inform the design. By merging past and present, Kelly is “giving an old soul a new spirit,” working with the existing space and respecting its history while creating a new story.
  • Color: It may seem intuitive, but so many homes have the same neutral walls. Kelly is a big proponent of bringing color into your home. Repainting a wall or adding a colorful accessory is one of the most dramatic ways to rejuvenate a room. A fresh coat of paint can make a room feel bigger, airier, happier, or calmer.
  • Define your project: Before embarking on a huge project, Kelly advises you to take a moment to consider exactly what you want: How do you want to experience your space? Ask yourself how a new design could potentially improve your quality of life, perhaps by giving you a better entertaining space or enlarging your kitchen’s storage.

Prior to taking this class, I hadn’t given too much thought to interior design.

Now have a deeper appreciation for what design can actually do for my surroundings. It’s about more than just upgrading your countertops. Good design is a form of self-expression; it lets you showcase your creativity while also improving your home’s function.

I will note that many of Kelly’s examples center on higher-end projects and clients, which can be hard to relate to at times. That said, each lesson contains practical tips that can be applied to virtually any context.

So, if you’re unsure what to make of a more aspirational example (such as a fancy hotel lobby), think about how the design incorporates color, mixes patterns, or uses lighting to create a mood. Those are elements you can apply anywhere.

Malcolm Gladwell review

Not many people can write a New York Times Bestseller every single time they publish, but Malcolm Gladwell is 5 for 5.

Is this because he has spent 10,000 hours on the craft? Maybe. The success he has obtained is probably more likely due to his advanced knowledge of his subject matter.

His books are powerhouses in the industry of gaining success. No wonder Time magazine named him one of the most influential people in the world in 2005.

The most interesting bits of Malcolm’s course:

  • Imperfect Puzzles. Malcolm explains how a great work of non-fiction is an unfinished puzzle that allows the reader to put the pieces together themselves, keeping them engaged and entertained with the work.
  • Research. A good idea is the first step to any great piece of writing. Malcolm shares how research helps him uncover interesting stories, how the best stuff is in the footnotes, and why you should never be afraid to follow your curiosity.
  • Interviewing. In this lesson, Malcolm reveals his secrets to uncovering the subject’s authentic self in an interview, the importance of slowing down, and why you should embrace the unexpected and let go of control.
  • Structuring language. Everyone thinks they can write, but we could all stand to take a lesson from Malcolm Gladwell on the power of simplicity to get your ideas across. I particularly enjoyed his discussions of using punctuation for rhythm and pacing.

I enjoyed his tips on testing his new ideas on friends and family first. First-response readers can show you, on a broader scale, how a larger scale audience will respond.

Malcolm Gladwell’s class had so many practical, actionable tips that I could practically feel my writing improving as I watched each video.

Some people claim to have training or knowledge in certain areas or industries, but Malcolm’s success shows that he actually knows what he writes about.

I’m just in awe of this guy.

Gordon Ramsey review

Okay, this class obviously has nothing to do with me improving my writing skills, but what the hey? I love Gordon Ramsay!

I often cook for friends and family, but they always say things like “What are these weird black bits?” and “Did you set off the smoke alarm again?” so I figured I could also do with a lesson or two.

Gordon Ramsay rose to popularity through Hell’s Kitchen, a TV show where he made prominent chefs falter and swore more than a sailor. But his success doesn’t end there, this English-raised restaurateur is also a prolific author and philanthropist.

The stuff I’ll take away from Gordon’s course:

  • Kitchen layout. I’ve been doing it wrong all this time! Now I know how to store my ingredients properly and rearrange the kitchen to maximize space. I really liked how you don’t need a lot of fancy tools in order to cook well.
  • Knife skills. Gordon explains exactly how to handle the knife so you’re not in danger of losing your fingers, and how to keep your knives properly sharp.
  • Making pasta dough. The way Gordon breaks down the steps makes it seem easy, even though this was something I never thought I’d be able to do. Also, apparently you should never wash your pasta machine.
  • Perfect scrambled eggs. If there was one thing I thought I already knew how to make it’s scrambled eggs. But I was wrong. Gordon breaks down the foolproof technique to making perfect scrambled eggs every time.

I also learned that this guy never met a curse word he didn’t like. I guess Ramsey’s balls-to-the-wall attitude will put some people off, but personally I loved his passion and the way he pushes you to do better.

Everything I made while taking this course got devoured in seconds and I even got a compliment or two.

You can’t argue with results!

Chris Hadfield review

Chris Hadfield is a retired astronaut and the first Canadian to spacewalk. After serving as a Canadian Air Force fighter pilot, he flew two separate Space Shuttle missions.

Though most things in life aren’t rocket science, his MasterClass really is rocket science. But it’s also much more than that.

Chris has a way of bringing space exploration and human life into perspective. He talks a lot about space, but even if you’re not a wannabe astronaut, you can learn something from him.

Diving into the class, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I’ve always been interested in space, but obviously, learning from a master in space wasn’t going to make me an astronaut.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. In the course, he covers everything from rocket-building to life lessons, and I actually enjoyed his “Bonus Chapter” the most.

What I learned from Chris’s course:

  • Learn about everything. Chris discusses the difficulties of being a new astronaut. In space, you have to know a little bit about everything. As Chris explained, if you get a shard of metal in your eye, there’s no one in space to take it out but yourself. You have to know mechanics, engineering, medicine, and much more.
  • Space could be our new normal. By talking about space, Chris talks about our future. While he knows none of us will become astronauts by taking his MasterClass, he is hopeful that one day space travel will become as popular as air travel. He talks about what living life on Mars would be like and how we can support life there.
  • Rockets are awesome. There are a few lessons about rocket science, how rockets are built, and the inner-mechanics of them. I thought that this could be a little sleep-inducing, but between the video quality and Chris’s passion for it, I found myself entertained the whole way through.
  • Celebrate life. In his “Bonus Chapter,” he talks about his own story. He had friends die in the 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, and how that really changed things for him. Chris has a beautiful way of relating space and the enormity of it to our human fragility.

So, I didn’t think I’d have much in common with a space explorer. I thought it’d be a cool class to take but was surprised that I could relate so easily to him.

Our human lives are fragile. No matter where we are or what we’re doing in life, we should celebrate it.

Chris Hadfield’s class leaves you with a new perspective and feeling pretty good about the world.

What I loved about MasterClass

Encouraging and inviting instructors

When I sit down to watch MasterClass video lessons, it really feels as if the instructor is speaking directly to me.

The courses are full of intimate anecdotes that give me a sense of who the instructors really are beneath all the feathers in their caps. You really get a one-on-one vibe that is pretty enthralling.

Christina Aguilera talks about singing the wrong lyrics to the National Anthem at the Super Bowl and how she recovered from that embarrassing mistake.

Neil Gaiman talks about getting stung by yellowjackets to make sure they wouldn’t attack his kids and how the experience inspired him to write a story about courage.

Bob Woodward tells the story of traveling to Libya to interview Colonel Gaddafi.

I love these behind-the-scenes looks into the lives of people I admire. It’s reassuring to know that everyone, even wildly successful and famous people, sometimes have the same doubts and insecurities that I do.

Inspiration and motivation

You won’t necessarily find career-changing skills (like coding or digital marketing) in most MasterClasses, but that’s okay; there are other educational platforms for that.

What I love about MasterClass is its strength in creative skills and fields and its emphasis on finding and honing your own talents.

MasterClasses show you where to get new ideas, how to use your personal experiences in your work, and how to communicate more effectively—things you often won’t find in traditional courses.

Many of the instructors emphasize that success isn’t all about raw talent and that you shouldn’t be afraid of starting with nothing.

As Steve Martin says in his introduction:

“Know that there’s room for you out there in the world. You don’t have to have a special gift. I had no special gift. Except I loved being on stage and I loved comedy. And that’s all I had.”

Especially if you’re feeling a bit down or in a creative slump, I suggest checking out MasterClass to get your motivation back.

Sampling different classes and lessons

The MasterClass platform gives you multiple options to sample bits and pieces of different classes.

You can of course follow one class through from start to finish.

But what if you want as much instruction as possible on one specific topic?

Let’s say you’re a writer who wants to create more compelling characters. You can find lessons on this topic in the MasterClasses by Neil Gaiman, Dan Brown, Margaret Atwood, R.L. Stine, Judy Blume, Aaron Sorkin, David Baldacci, and James Patterson.

Why not cluster these lessons together to get an incredible variety of perspectives on the same topic?

As I mentioned above, MasterClass makes this easy for you with Quick Lists. These are pre-made collections of videos by different instructors that speak to similar ideas and concepts. In this way, you can dive deeper in certain areas, such as “Creative Block,” “Leadership,” or “Communication.”

One of my favorites was “Draft to Draft”, which is all about the principals that creative people follow when developing an idea.

Can I learn something about writing and editing from listening to Judd Apatow talking about just vomiting out the first draft or Deadmau5 on how nothing is ever finished?

Hell, yes.

With Quick Lists you don’t need to take each class in a linear fashion from start to finish. You’re encouraged to skip between instructors based on topics.

If you’ve taken lots of professional courses then you’ll know at some point you start hearing the same thing over and over again.

This is something totally different. It’s taking a radically new approach to learning by pulling information from completely different fields.

Workbook exercises

Yes, the video lessons form the backbone of each MasterClass, but don’t underestimate the value of the accompanying class workbooks, which contain further advice, references, and activities.

For instance, in a writing MasterClass, many of these exercises involve responding to writing prompts.

If you take these workbook exercises seriously, you gain so much more value from the class. That’s because you shift from a passive absorber of knowledge (as you watch the video lessons) to an active creator.

“Doing homework” might not be glamorous, but if you put in the work you’ll reap the full rewards and cement what you’ve learned in your memory.

I love that MasterClass come with this feature.

The accompanying workbook takes the course up a notch from, say, watching a series of videos on YouTube.

You don’t have to take full advantage of every MasterClass workbook—maybe you just want to dabble in an area for a short lesson or two. But the workbook is there if you want it, and I recommend using it those classes that are especially interesting to you.

What I didn’t love about Masterclass

This wouldn’t be an honest MasterClass review if I didn’t mention the things I didn’t like so much about the platform.

Interaction with the instructor

Before I signed up for MasterClass, I’d heard a rumor that the instructors might answer questions and give you personal feedback. Two lucky people even got to co-write a novel with James Patterson after winning a MasterClass competition.

Did I get anything like that? Not so far.

You can submit questions – either text or uploading a video of yourself – and the instructor may go through and answer some of them.

I’m guessing they get hundreds and hundreds of these things and the chances your question will be answered is pretty small. That’s understandable, but my complaint is that when you sign up you don’t know what kind of interaction you can expect.

At the time of writing, James Patterson had answered about twenty questions, and given general feedback on a bunch of assignments. Gordon Ramsey has answered four questions. Neil Gaiman hasn’t answered anything, although to be fair his course was relatively new when I first took it.

Don’t sign up expecting any of this, and treat it like a fun bonus. It’s totally a matter of luck if you’ll get a question answered.

The other major problem I had with MasterClass was the community…

Is there value in the MasterClass community?

Good classes aren’t just about the teacher; I also want the chance to meet interesting new people and bounce ideas around with them. I’m not going to lie, MasterClass should be doing a LOT more to make the community welcoming and valuable.

For some classes, the lesson discussions under each video are about as useful as YouTube comments. Don’t bother.

The Hub was better. I used it to post my writing assignments and get feedback from other students. They made a huge effort to provide useful feedback.

However, interaction between students in some other classes was lacking to say the least.

Take a look at the Gordon Ramsey community below: it’s nothing but tumbleweed in there. Understandable, since you can’t exactly ask the other students to taste your cooking (or in Serena Williams’ class, critique your tennis backhand).

MasterClass review - Gordon Ramsey communityPro tip: Lots of students like to hang out on the MasterClass Facebook page, and I found it a lot easier to follow discussions there than on the MasterClass website.

I definitely recommend checking out the Facebook page once you’ve finished a course.

The 9 best MasterClasses to take in 2020

If you’re new to MasterClass, you might wonder where to start. Even within each category (say, Writing or Culinary Arts), there are so many options.

Which classes are the ‘best’?

That’s hard to say, as it really depends on your interests and goals! In my experience, every MasterClass I’ve sampled has been genuinely insightful and had exquisite production values.

That said, here are 9 classes that I think are especially worth taking.

They all combine an engaging instructor with well-crafted course content for an immersive learning experience that not only teaches you some new skills, but also truly inspires, uplifts, and provokes deeper thought.

Neil Gaiman

This MasterClass on the art of storytelling truly lives up to its name. Neil Gaiman is a warm and inviting guide through the various aspects of storytelling, from worldbuilding and writing dialogue to incorporating humor and overcoming writer’s block.

  • The best part: Inspiration. Neil helps his students flip their perspectives to view the world in new ways. He encourages you to experiment with creative ideas and provides that extra push of motivation to get you through a slump.

Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay has two MasterClasses, and I recommend tackling them in order.

In Gordon Ramsay’s first cooking class, you learn fundamental concepts and techniques, from how to get the hang of knife skills to how to break down a whole chicken. As I mentioned above, this class revolutionized how I cook scrambled eggs!

In his second class, Gordon Ramsay takes it up a level and shows you how to bring restaurant-quality food into your home.

  • The best part: Demonstrations that you can follow along with. These real-time demos help me get the timing just right.

Garry Kasparov

I’ve played chess for years, so I thought it would be fun to look inside the mind of a chess genius.

Garry Kasparov covers topics such as skewers, discovered attacks, and pins; outlines strategies for openings and endgames; and shares plenty of personal anecdotes along the way.

As Garry says, “Hard work is a talent.” No matter your current chess ability, you can learn so many things from working hard at this complex, centuries-old game.

  • The best part: Eye-opening game analyses. Garry sees possibilities on the board that I simply miss…until he points them out to me.

Kelly Wearstler

Whether you’re considering major home renovations or are furnishing your first apartment, Kelly Wearstler’s MasterClass shows you how to make the most of your space and how to use various design elements—color, materials, art, furniture, and more—to tell a compelling visual story. Thanks to the video lesson format, you get tons of concrete examples to accompany each concept.

  • The best part: Visual inspiration. Watching the videos is akin to flipping through an issue of Architectural Digest, with Kelly’s commentary walking you through her design choices.

Daniel Negreanu

“You need to understand that everything you do at the poker table conveys information.” Daniel Negreanu’s MasterClass offers an intriguing glimpse into the world of professional poker, with tons of tips for improving your own play.

You’ll learn about betting, bluffing, avoiding common mistakes, adjusting your play for different scenarios, and more.

  • The best part: Seeing concepts in action as Daniel talks through his thought process. He’s great at demystifying his decisions so that you can apply his techniques yourself.

Ron Finley

With just some soil, seedlings, and your own two hands, you can grow an awesome garden.

Ron Finley’s MasterClass shows you how to make your soil fertile, create planters, and keep your plants alive. I came away from this class with a new understanding of how gardening can build community and inspire creativity.

  • The best part: The focus on growing your own food, from herbs and leafy greens to sweet potatoes and sugar snap peas.

Natalie Portman

Famous for her roles in Star Wars and Black Swan, Natalie Portman draws on her extensive acting experience in this MasterClass, which shows you how she approaches her roles, works with directors, thinks about improvisation, and learns dialects for specific characters.

  • The best part: Natalie’s thoughtful commentary on the work of acting. I have a feeling that I will watch films more attentively from now on.

Chris Voss

This MasterClass on negotiation teaches practical techniques, such as mirroring and labeling, that are applicable to virtually all aspects of life.

Think of all the interactions in your life in which you are trying to acquire something or persuade another person to agree with you. Chris Voss gives you new tools for thinking about those interactions.

  • The best part: Fascinating case studies centered on real-life hostage negotiations. You can listen in on phone conversations Voss has actually had and see the techniques in action.

Annie Leibovitz

Watching the Annie Leibovitz MasterClass, I was reminded that she is the creative force behind so many of my favorite iconic photographs. I may not be a professional, but I do snap a lot of pictures. This class gave me so many ideas to try out with my friends and family.

  • The best part: The photographs. Annie’s body of work is endlessly inspiring, and her commentary brings each photo even more to life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Masterclass

I won’t be able to cover everything about MasterClass in this FAQ, but here are the questions I get asked most often about it:

How much does it cost?

The All-Access Pass costs $180 per year which gives you unlimited access to every MasterClass on the platform.

Is MasterClass worth the money?

Absolutely. I found MasterClass to be great value. The All-Access pass was worth the money to get unique insights from some of the most talented people in the world.

Does MasterClass give certificates?

No. MasterClass does not give certificates when you complete a class.

How do I watch MasterClass?

MasterClass is available on any internet-streaming device. You can watch a MasterClass on your TV, smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Can I download MasterClass videos?

You can’t download the classes as easily as a movie on the internet. The world is full of pirates, after all. However, you can download the material on their iOS for offline viewing. At the moment there is no Android capability for offline viewing.

How long is each MasterClass course?

This depends on the course you’re taking. The 4 classes I discuss in this review contained between 3 to 5 hours of material each. Some of the lessons were long and in-depth and others were short and sweet. However, I took my time completing these classes as I enjoyed watching a video and then reflecting on it.

Can I share my MasterClass login?

Though MasterClass does encourage everyone having their own logins, they say you don’t need to be secretive about it. If you want to show your friend a clip or highlight from a course, go for it. But if they want to take the whole course, let them pay for it themselves.

Can I gift MasterClass?

You sure can! There is a gift option for every MasterClass so you can share the love.

Can I get a refund from MasterClass?

Yes. If MasterClass isn't for you, then you can request a refund within 30 days of purchasing a class or subscription.

My verdict: Is MasterClass worth it?

 

MasterClass is a fantastic resource for those looking to better their craft in the comfort of their own home for a lot less money than a university course.

The MasterClass price is worth it if you:

  • Are interested in an insider look at how art is made
  • Want to be inspired by the greatest minds of our generation
  • Want to try something different in a new discipline
  • You’re currently at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

However, MasterClass is probably not worth it if you:

  • Are looking to pick up specific technical skills
  • Want what you learn to be instantly marketable.

Overall, my experience with MasterClass was overwhelmingly positive. I enjoyed many things about the classes I took, especially the different teaching styles, and I learned how to write better fiction and cook great food too.

I probably won’t go on to emulate the success of my instructors any time soon. However, I think I will be a better writer, home decorator, and home cook for having taken these 5 classes.

For me, my MasterClass subscription is more like my gym membership or library card; it’s a workout for my mind that’s going to introduce me to new perspectives and expand my horizons.

Rogier and Rasmussen have mentioned in interviews that they started this project to document the knowledge of great experts to serve as a time capsule after their deaths. That’s pretty heavy stuff, but they’re not wrong.

One day these people will all be gone and this record of their craft – in their own words – will be left for us to learn from.

MasterClass Special Deals

MasterClass sometimes offer special deals. Check out any current deal here.

 

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