Masterclass review 2020: The perfect hobby during lockdown?

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I’m currently in self-isolation because of the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than get down about it, I decided to see it as an opportunity to get back into MasterClass.

This is the online education platform with some of the world’s most well-known and successful teachers.

They’ve got people like Malcolm Gladwell, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Gordon Ramsay sharing their best knowledge.

What’s even better is that the videos are of incredible quality. If you’re stuck at home like I am, these are the kinds of videos you can binge-watch.

Over the last 24 months, I’ve taken almost every class that’s available on MasterClass.

In this review, I’ll share what’s good and what’s bad about MasterClass. By the end, you’ll know whether MasterClass is a good companion for you during lockdown.

What is MasterClass?

There’s a simple way to understand MasterClass.

It’s a new online education platform where the world’s most successful people teach what it is that made them successful.

They share their knowledge in highly captivating and inspiring 3-15 minute video lessons.

The video lessons are truly astounding. It’s Hollywood-level video production quality. They’re so nice to watch.

Once you start watching one lesson, you’ll get instantly hooked and keep on binge-watching.

Watching MasterClass is similar to watching Netflix, except that instead of mindlessly consuming content you’re learning from the world’s top creators.

This is their selling point.

You can learn from the best while being entertained in the process.

The question is:

Is it worth paying for?

I’m going to help you answer that question in this comprehensive review. First, let’s go over who the instructors are.

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Who are the MasterClass instructors?

MasterClass instructors are professionals in their field, but they’re also well-known and well-recognized individuals, many times even celebrities.

It’s a pretty big deal, and Masterclass brings the world’s greatest practitioners to their student community.

When I say “world’s greatest practitioners”, I mean exactly this. For example, here are popular Masterclass Instructors:

Sounds great, right? You easily recognized multiple people on this list, and it’s because MasterClass uses true celebrities that are professional and unique. It’s difficult to imagine so much talent being assembled in one place, with their knowledge and experience delivered in the form of online classes.

MasterClass All-Access Pass

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So, is it all too good to be true?

No, it’s not.

When you take an online course with MasterClass, you’re being taught by the very best.

But even though they use celebrities, is MasterClass right for you?

Hans Zimmer is one of the MasterClass instructors, teaching a course on film composing. Source: MasterClass

Who is MasterClass for?

MasterClass offers classes for writers, photographers, musicians, journalists, athletes, and much more. Or, it’s for people who are interested in those fields and want to get into them. They cover a wide range of subject areas, and their breadth is growing rapidly.

But who is MasterClass for?

MasterClass is best suited for creative people looking for inspiration from the world’s most successful people.

In contrast, many other online education providers focus on providing you with practical skills, such as in the areas of business or digital marketing. Personally, I certainly would benefit from these skills and won’t find them on MasterClass.

What I will find instead is an incredible amount of premium quality video content inspiring me to think differently about the creative arts.

In short, MasterClass is designed for aspiring or established creative professionals:

  • Writers
  • Artists
  • Musicians
  • Photographers
  • Painters / Graphic Designers
  • Directors

Furthermore, MasterClass isn’t for those who thrive in pressurized classroom environments.

Instead, it is ideal for those who like a more hands-on approach to learning where you have the freedom to learn at your own pace.

What are MasterClass classes like?

A MasterClass class is a truly unique experience.

When you sign up for one, you’ll be taken to a very intuitive interface that shows you your first lesson. But here’s where it gets a little different.

Other online education providers will try to take you through a structured process of learning, showing you one lesson after the other. MasterClass is different. It seems purpose-built for more creative minds.

Let me show you what I encountered right after enrolling with the All-Access Pass.

When I enrolled, I selected three instructors to check out first (Neil Gaiman, Dan Brown and Margaret Atwood – yes, I’m interested in writing!). They show me my choice when I log in:

MasterClass reviews opening screen

Okay, this is pretty standard.

I then decided to begin with Margaret Atwood’s class on creative writing. Halfway through the introduction, I paused the video and saw this:

As you can see, I’m given the option of continuing to watch the introduction I started, skipping on to the next lesson or starting an entirely new class by Malcolm Gladwell (who I hadn’t even selected at the beginning).

For me, this demonstrates one of the real strengths of MasterClass.

It’s not so rigid, getting you to stick with a rigorous process of watching lessons in a certain order. Instead, you’re encouraged to jump around from one instructor to the other.

For example, after taking a few lessons I then navigated back to my home page and discovered the following screen:

On my day 1, they’ve welcomed me to a curated series of lessons based on a particular theme. Today’s theme is “Determination” and they’ve selected a number of lessons to watch.

This is further illustrated with their “playlists”.

When you scroll further down on the homepage, you’ll see that they have put together more playlists for me to explore. Below, I hovered my mouse over “Story: Idea to Ending” for you to get an indication of what I’m talking about.

They’ve packaged lessons from 5 instructors, in this case, James Patterson, Aaron Sorkin, Steve Martin, Judy Blume, and Malcolm Gladwell.

It then shows a video from each instructor between 1 and 5 minutes in length. I found it incredibly useful, helping me to understand how it really feels when you have an idea worth sharing, as opposed to something that is not so well-formed.

In short, the All-Access Pass is perfectly suited to creativity and inspiration. It harnesses the brilliant talent and premium videos, making it modular. It’s brilliant for creative minds.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect when you take a MasterClass course:

  • High-quality video lessons from a “Master” teacher. The number of lessons averages on 24 per MasterClass course with each class providing 2-5 hours of premium video.
  • Course notes on each video containing key points.
  • Additional reading resources as well as a space to log down your own notes.
  • Membership to the MasterClass Community. You can join discussions, share work, and connect with your fellow students.

Check out the video I recorded taking you inside MasterClass.

How much is MasterClass?

You know that you’re being taught by true experts. But how much do the MasterClass classes cost?

  • Each “class” costs $90, giving you 20-40 video-based lessons (about 3 to 14 minutes each—2-5 hours in total) with lectures from the particular “master” of the subject you’re learning about.
  • Or you can the All-Access pass, giving you unlimited access to every class for $180 per year.
  • There’s a 30-day refund policy with both options.

You get lifetime access to the classes with both options. This includes all of the video-based content and written descriptions of each module.

Some class members are reportedly lucky enough to receive online feedback from the instructor themselves, although it’s difficult to imagine this will always be possible as MasterClass grows.

I’ve been working in the online education space for a number of years now and can tell you that this is a very competitive price compared to other education providers.

MasterClass individual class vs. All-Access Pass

A number of people have reached out to me to ask my advice on whether to sign up for an individual pass or go straight for the All-Access Pass. While the MasterClass All Access cost may be intimidating to some, I think it’s worth it.

The best way to decide is to look through the instructors teaching at MasterClass, and see if there’s at least three you’d like to learn from. If that’s the case, it’s likely worthwhile going straight for the All-Access Pass.

However, if you’re particularly drawn to one particular instructor, then begin with their individual class. Sometimes, there is a MasterClass discount (like around holidays), but the prices pretty much stay the same the rest of the year. While they don’t offer a MasterClass student discount, I’ve found that your All-Access Pass is almost like a student discount.

MasterClass All-Access Pass

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Are MasterClass’s online classes worth your money?

The key question I want to address is the following:

Are their online classes worth your money?

This really depends on the kind of educational experience you are looking for.

If you like to learn independently, MasterClass may be the perfect option for you. Their classes are perfectly tailored for the kinds of people who enjoy learning at their own pace, often binge-watching multiple lessons at a time the way you may watch many episodes in a row on Netflix.

The quality of their videos is so high. You know the instructors have credibility. It makes it easy to sit back, relax and watch multiple videos in a row.

For me, I would happily spend a weekend diving deep into the minds of Malcolm Gladwell, Ron Howard, and Annie Leibovitz.

I think it’s important to note that technology provides us with a more powerful model of online learning. MasterClass doesn’t represent the pinnacle of what’s possible.

I would like to see online education evolve in the direction of bringing students closer together with incredible instructors. I think we can make learning more social and collaborative.

Having said this, I think it’s difficult to find a better value for money offering than what MasterClass offers. The videos are incredibly well-produced and the interface is designed for creative minds. It’s inspiring and educational.

If you’re new to learning online and want to quickly get started, they could be a great option for you.

Want my 120-page book about MasterClass?

How best to use MasterClass during isolation. Let me send it to you right away.

What is the MasterClass community like?

MasterClass has created a community called The Hub. It’s where the community meet each other and interact around each class.

It’s basically a forum with topics, and each topic can be tagged with the instructor’s name. Here are the latest topics shared around Shonda Rhimes’ class:

The most recently talked about item is “Shonda Rhimes Top Ten Reasons for Success”. I clicked on it and discovered these statistics:

The conversation has been going on for 2 years now, with almost 100 people contributing.

Yet upon further exploration, it doesn’t seem like there’s a huge amount of interaction happening. Every day there are new topics and contributions, but it doesn’t look like much—considering tens of thousands of people are enrolled in MasterClass.

I think The Hub is best seen as a well-organized place to find extra resources related to each class. You can probably use it to meet people and interact around classes, but MasterClass is better designed for video consumption rather than collaborative learning.

If you’re looking for a more collaborative learning experience, I don’t think MasterClass will deliver this for you. That being said, there are forums on sites like Reddit, and there is even a thread called MasterClass review on Reddit where you can interact with others who have taken the courses.

What makes MasterClass online classes different?

I’m going to share what I believe to be the two core strengths of Masterclass. In the following section, I’ll explain how I think they can improve what they offer.

Pros of MasterClass: The quality of the instructors

The first differentiator of Masterclass is in the quality of their instructors. Every single teacher is quite simply world class.

This was always the goal of co-founder Rogier. He aimed to bring together “the best in the world to teach and share and make it a price point that is affordable.”

Dustin Hoffman teaches acting. James Patterson teaches writing. Aaron Sorkin teaches screens writing. Christina Aguilera teaches singing.

This is only scratching the tip of the iceberg.

They also have Usher teaching performance, Serena Williams teaching tennis and Steve Martin teaching comedy.

It’s hard to imagine how Rogier and Rasumssen managed to convince such talented and well-known people to join forces with MasterClass. According to Hollywod Reporter, they have likely done so by accepting a $100,000 advance for each course they deliver, along with 30 percent of the revenue their classes generate.

According to Rogier, the course instructors also “see this as a way to give back… If it was for the money, there are tons of other options.”

“Every single one of our masters worked their butts off,” continues Rogier. “They have worked for decades on their craft. They also have the same fears and insecurities that some of us do about becoming good. I think our students are actually really inspired by it.”

However they managed to get such an incredible cast of instructors on board, it’s clear that the quality of teachers is a significant differentiator of MasterClass.

Pros of MasterClass: The quality of the video classes

The quality of their video classes is incredibly captivating.

Hans Zimmer, in the midst of filming his course. Credit: MasterClass

MasterClass has gone all out to make sure the videos they create are of the highest quality possible. In fact, their aim is reportedly to bring the quality of Netflix to the $100 billion e-learning industry.

They’re delivering on this aim. Unfortunately, I’m not able to show you clips from inside MasterClass as that’s restricted to paying members.

But there’s a really effective way to get a feel for the quality. Check out the trailer below for Steve Martin’s class:

Now check out Ron Howard’s trailer for directing:

Truly breathtaking.

I can confirm that the lessons are all created at a similar level of quality.

Their videos are different from anything you’ll find from other online education providers. They are well scripted, shot in high definition and impeccably produced.

Want my 120-page book about MasterClass?

How best to use MasterClass during isolation. Let me send it to you right away.

Cons of MasterClass

Now that we’ve covered what I think are the two key differentiators of the MasterClass online classes, let’s get to some of the key issues.

The key question I was asking myself as I was reviewing all of the material on offer from MasterClass was the following:

Cons of MasterClass: Are these really educational classes?

Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Methods of education include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research.

For the MasterClass classes to be classed as education, I would want to see more interaction between the instructors and students.

Sharon Chatten, an acting coach who has worked with Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller, agrees:

“It’s like someone studying violin but not holding a violin — just looking at videos of how to play a violin. It’s silly to put on your resume that you’ve studied acting because you’ve taken this course. I think it’s valuable in the way that watching ‘Actors on Actors’ or Charlie Rose is. You’re expanding your mind, but I wouldn’t consider that taking an acting class.”

Stuart Rogers, who runs an L.A. acting school that has been home to Allison Janney and Octavia Spencer, has a similar perspective: “It’s not a master class, or a class of any kind,” he says. “It’s tips and anecdotal information — a very cool thing professionals have done to share stories about their art. But it’s not training.”

Cons of MasterClass: Lack of community

MasterClass is aware of this challenge and emphasizes the community aspect of their online learning. They have created a “Hub” where students can engage in discussions and ask questions about the classes.

I reviewed The Hub above, noting that there isn’t a huge amount of interaction between students for each class.

It is possible to interact with instructors. You can see an example of this below. However, this is likely an exception to the norm, especially given MasterClass’s recent growth.

James Patterson co-wrote a novel with his MasterClass student Kecia Bal after she took his online course. Photo by: MasterClass

MasterClass All-Access Pass

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The best MasterClass instructors

It was difficult to narrow it down to my three favorite instructors, as there are so many incredible people to choose from.

I decided to choose three instructors who I discovered while inside the All-Access part of MasterClass. Even with my extensive research, I was still surprised to come across each of them.

As difficult as it was, my first choice was easy.

1) Bob Woodward, Investigative journalist

I was surprised to discover Bob Woodward had given a MasterClass! He’s someone I’ve admired for a long time.

In 2005, I did a Master of Arts in International Relations and studied American foreign policy with a strong focus on the Iraq war of 2003.

Two of Woodward’s books, Plan of Attack (2004) and Bush at War (2002) were required reading. He provides detailed accounts of the Bush presidency and why they made the decisions they did.

His key matra was always to report on the facts, not opinion.

I think it’s more important now than ever to have journalists learning the trade from people like Bob Woodward. Here on Ideapod, we have a readership in the millions of people monthly and I want our writers (including me) to make sure we work in similar ways to Woodward.

One of the key lessons imparted by Woodward in this class is about the importance of changing course as you work on your story. You’ll learn more about the story as you delve deeper, and you need to have an open mind about which direction to take. You need to let the facts steer the direction, not your pre-conceived intentions.

Finally, it finishes with a brilliant rallying cry to journalists to continue fighting for the truth. Woodward isn’t the most charismatic of the instructors, but I think the message is more important than someone’s charisma.

To see the quality of Woodward in action, check out this recording of him speaking with President Donald Trump in 2018. It’s fascinating:

 

2) Judy Blume, Writer

Judy Blume’s class has been on MasterClass almost since the beginning. She’s a children’s author, well known for writing Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Blubber.

Her class follows the format of other classes: there are 24 lessons, access to the community via The Hub and a class workbook to download.

Here’s what it looks like to take Judy Blume’s class.

Blume focuses on helping you to discover the process of writing that works best for you. She does this by sharing many anecdotes about her own process, along with a number of case studies.

She also covers topics like how to handle rejection, find an editor and deal with censorship.

I particularly enjoyed Blume’s discussion of “how to get in touch with the child within”. It mirrors something I’ve written about the inner child.

I think Blume’s class is best suited for aspiring writers who feel the passion to write but haven’t figured out how to create the habits and routines required to be writing consistently every day. Personally, this is something I’ve learned a while back and I already have my own process in place. Blume’s class basically encouraged me that I’m on the right track.

 

3) Malcolm Gladwell, Writer

I truly loved this class!

Malcolm is a great performer. He’s interesting to listen to, has great stories to share and also seems to have a real passion for helping you to get over your writer’s block and just start writing.

In the beginning, he’s honest about never having done something this before. He also says this class is a chance for him to reflect on his own career.

His key message is that writing is a calling. It has a higher purpose and is one way we can fulfill ourselves as human beings.

In a way, Gladwell’s class isn’t just about writing. It does have a focus on character arcs, structuring your writing and getting the process right. But it’s also packed full of inspiration. It’s humanizing.

Want my 120-page book about MasterClass?

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To get a feel for it, check out the trailer below:

Check out Malcolm Gladwell’s class here. Or our full review here.

 

MasterClass review: Gordon Ramsay

Genefe Navilon reviewed Gordon Ramsay’s class on MasterClass, and what she wrote surprised me.

First of all, her initial reaction to Gordon Ramsay resonated with me. Here’s what she wrote:

“Like most of you, I did have my expectations of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. From the few sporadic episodes I watched of Hell’s Kitchen and Master Chef, I remember a blunt, ruthless, boisterous chef who seemed to like cursing as much as he liked cooking.”

I’ve also reacted abrasively to Ramsay.

Yet after taking all of the classes and even putting what she learned to the test with by cooking up a poached eggs and mushroom brioche, Genefe came to a different understanding of Ramsay:

“Chef Gordon Ramsay is truly an inspiration. Just hearing about his success story was more than enough for my money’s worth. But it really was his honesty and candidness that I liked watching.

“I am someone who is also passionate about my work. And more often than not, I find myself pushing and pushing to achieve a ‘reward’ in my head. As a result, I always chase for perfection and am not satisfied with anything less.

“But chef Gordon Ramsay imparted some wisdom in this MasterClass that truly resonated with me. And that is to find balance in your passion and work – how to never forget the reason why you do what you do. More importantly, not to forget that you love it.”

Therein lies something truly unique about MasterClass. Taking one of their classes is much more than learning skills from the world’s most successful people.

In Genefe’s case, she learned some essential skills in cooking. But the classes were also a chance to reflect on her pursuit of perfection and to find passion in her work.

This is what I love about MasterClass. It takes you inside the minds of the world’s most successful people in a way that helps you to grow as a person. It’s deeply humanizing and inspiring.

 

deadmau5 MasterClass review

There’s another fascinating instructor teaching on MasterClass. It’s Hans Zimmer aka deadmau5.

The Canadian electronic dance music producer and DJ is considered one of the most well-known music producers in the scene today. He’s now teaching a class on MasterClass. It’s another example of MasterClass recruiting the services of an enigmatic and unconventional teacher with fascinating insights to share.

Check out the trailer for his class:

We reviewed deadmau5’s full MasterClass here. Here’s our main takeaway:

“This MasterClass has a lot of personality. It’s snarky, funny, and one that I think, should not be taken too seriously. If you know deadmau5, then you know what you’re in for. Will you learn a lot You’ll learn a lot technically, for sure. You’ll learn how to develop your own chord structure. deadmau5 will teach you the basics of his approach to gain structure, EQing and limiting. The course covers a lot on music production.”

deadmau5’s MasterClass takes you deep inside his creative process. It’s consistent with the other classes reviewed here.

As I spend more time immersing myself taking the different classes on offer, a consistent theme is certainly emerging. MasterClass focuses on inspiration but delivers it in a practical way. The classes inspire you to get started doing something in life, whether that’s developing your passion as a writer, becoming a better cook or working on creating music that moves people.

Check out our review for more on deadmau5’s MasterClass. Here’s where you can find out more about his class on MasterClass.

Newest MasterClass Classes 2020

MasterClass courses are available no matter when you find them, but the newest MasterClass 2020 courses are a step above the rest.

Though they’re constantly adding new instructors, some of the best courses may be ones that you already overlooked.

What I love about MasterClass is learning about the different topics and fields of interest. Sometimes, I dip my toes in a music class. Other times, I’ll try something in writing or business. But it never fails—no matter which I choose, I always learn something.

Some of the newest 2020 instructors include diverse women and amazing artists. In fact, they’re really well-rounded this year. With multiple business courses, a dance course, music course, and writing courses, there’s something for everyone this year.

And because you’ll want to check out every class they’re offering in 2020, the All-Access Pass is the best way to go. Though not all of the new 2020 MasterClass courses were my favorite, I found a few that I really learned from.

MasterClass All-Access Pass

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Is MasterClass worth it in 2020?

MasterClass has already added a few new courses, and they’re planning on adding even more in 2020. If you don’t currently have an All-Access Pass, I think 2020 is going to be the year to do so.

I’ve looked at their social media accounts and a lot of people have been commenting who they hope are the upcoming teachers. From what I can see, the 2020 MasterClass instructors are going to be awesome.

There’s even supposed to be some that are world-renowned in their sport! Though those are all upcoming, I’ve taken the newest MasterClass courses currently offered and found which ones are worth your time.

Want my 120-page book about MasterClass?

How best to use MasterClass during isolation. Let me send it to you right away.

Best 2020 MasterClass courses

David Sedaris MasterClass review

NYT bestselling author David Sedaris teaches you storytelling and humor. He’s made his fortune with being funny, relatable, and turning life’s littlest moments into a happy story for everyone to read.

In his course, he talks about how to turn observations of the world into stories that connect with an audience. He has a calming and funny presence that makes you want to keep watching.

If you’re a writer who wants to better your craft, this is the perfect MasterClass to take. But, I learned a few things that I believe could make this class worthy to everyone. David Sedaris’s MasterClass is about writing, but it’s also about people.

Connecting and learning about people makes for great stories, but it also makes for something really important—mindfulness.

When you’re living in the moment as David suggests, you learn so much more about life, and you’re a lot happier too. This is a great class for those who are currently writers or want to become writers. Though personally, I’d argue that this course can teach everyone something.

Here’s what you can expect to learn in his course:

  • Everyone’s life is worth writing about
  • Bad experiences can be something positive
  • Observe and live in the moment
  • Expanding on already finished ideas
  • Becoming a relatable person
  • Drafting a story
  • Turning comedy into meaning
  • How to revise a story
  • How to grow as a writer
  • Write without worrying about being published

Learn more about David Sedaris’ MasterClass here.

Misty Copeland MasterClass review

Misty Copeland was the first Black woman to be promoted to principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, and she’s one of the most well-known ballerinas in the world. What can a person like you learn from a prima-ballerina?

Well, as it turns out, a lot. Sure, she dives into ballet technique which may not be your thing, but deep down, Misty is an artist. It’s her talk of artistry that really blows this class away. Misty Copeland’s MasterClass goes through how she uses the technique to showcase her artistry.

If you’re a dancer, you’ll love listening and watching her. Her performances are breathtaking, but she also talks about how she got to where she is today. I think this would be a perfect MasterClass to gift to someone who is a young dancer. It’s a hard field to break into!

Though this class is definitely focused on women and dance, it is incredible to watch Misty dance. She also has a part of the class that focuses on inclusivity and diversity in artistry. It’s a great message.

Here’s what you’ll learn in Misty Copeland’s MasterClass:

  • How a fresh perspective can increase your confidence
  • Owning your power
  • Dealing with criticism
  • Ballet technique
  • Barre pliés and tendus
  • Temps lié
  • Ronds de jambe
  • Proper alignment
  • How to perform better
  • Why mentoring is so important
  • Diversity and inclusion in artistry matters

Here is Misty Copeland’s class.

Bobbi Brown MasterClass review

If you love makeup, you already know who Bobbi Brown is. She’s one of the most successful women in the world. Her makeup brand is used by celebrities, and she’s created a brand people love.

The majority of people watching this course will probably be women. So, while I didn’t get a whole lot from it, I know that people are going to enjoy it. If you’re an aspiring makeup artist, her tips are easy to watch and learn from.

It’s the perfect course for anyone who wants to improve their craft with makeup. Not everyone knows how to apply it or where to begin, so this is like a crash course for those looking to change up their look.

Not only is she a makeup artist, but she’s also a businesswoman. Though it’s not a topic I love, I still found a lot in her MasterClass that was used. She talks about her philosophy and how you should never give up.

In Bobbi Brown’s MasterClass, you’ll learn:

  • Bobbi Brown’s beauty philosophy
  • History of makeup
  • How to use color
  • What to keep in your makeup
  • How to use makeup to properly frame your face
  • What to use on your face for your skincare
  • The perfect smoky eye
  • A quick one-minute makeup routine
  • Mistakes people do when using makeup
  • How to ask for help
  • All about business

Find out more about Bobbi Brown’s class here.

Doris Kearns Goodwin MasterClass review

One of the highest positions of power one can hold is being president of a country. Whether you live in the United States or not, there’s nothing more interesting than learning about presidential history. Not only does it teach you about the power and concept of how the US works, but it’s also fascinating to hear some of the life lessons or mistakes that US presidents have made in the past.

Sure, you can find a lot online. However, with Doris Kearns Goodwin, you won’t need to.

Doris is a Pulitzer prize winner, and she’s a renowned historian. But here’s the thing: These lessons are far from boring.

She takes history and reinvents it. What I mean by that is she teaches life lessons from history itself. Throughout the course, you’ll even learn to be a better leader. I was shocked while taking this class. It covers everything from self-care to becoming a successful leader, and everything is good.

It’s by far one of the most interesting MasterClass courses I’ve taken, and I never would’ve known it. She teaches US presidential history, but really, it’s so much more than that.

You should take this course if you are a business person, a leader, or aspire to become one. Whether you want to be the leader of a company or the leader of a country, this is one you can’t miss out on.

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s MasterClass teaches:

  • How to become a great leader
  • Why emotional intelligence is so important
  • How to successfully lead a team
  • Why strategic partnerships are the most important thing you can have
  • Self-care and the importance of taking time to relax and refresh
  • Making good decisions
  • How to get through a crisis
  • The best way to deliver a message—both good and bad
  • How to build a platform and find your voice
  • Building a legacy and advice for future leaders

Learn more about Doris Kearns Goodwin’s class here.

Bob Iger MasterClass review

Arguably one of the happiest and most-enjoyable MasterClass courses I’ve taken, Bob Iger was fantastic to watch. If you don’t know who he is, he’s the CEO of Walt Disney. The quality of this course is outstanding.

If you’re going to take one of these MasterClasses this year, have it be this one. I didn’t have any complaints, and from a business perspective, this one is invaluable. He works through simple business strategies and makes them life-changing.

It doesn’t matter if you have a multi-million dollar business or you’re just starting out, this is a fantastic course to dig down deep and figure out how to best approach the business you’re working with.

From strategies to Disney moments, the videos are relatable, funny, and heartwarming. If you’re a business fan or love Walt Disney, this is the perfect MasterClass course to take in 2020.

In Bob Iger’s MasterClass, you’ll learn:

  • How to best use your time effectively
  • Prioritizing what’s most important to you
  • How to focus and create a business strategy
  • How he acquired Pixar from Steve Jobs
  • The importance of knowing how to negotiate
  • Creating value with your brand
  • How to expand your brand and push it to its limits
  • Learning what consumers really want
  • Getting through complex deals with other companies
  • What you need to be successful
  • Why advocating for a better world is the best thing you can do

Here is Bob Iger’s MasterClass.

Sara Blakely MasterClass review

Not everyone makes it to the top in traditional ways, and Sara Blakely is one of the best people to learn from. An entrepreneur from the start, she turned her business into a billion dollar business.

No one thought she could do it, but she had the mindset and belief. You may recognize her from ABC’s Shark Tank where she often guest sharks. Otherwise, you may know her as the founder of Spanx.

There’s a difference between entrepreneurs and businesspeople. They think differently. If you’re an entrepreneur, or you want to be one, Sara Blakely’s MasterClass is effective in showing you how to make the most of what you’ve got.

She’s entertaining to watch, and though her business is women-focused, her MasterClass can apply to everyone.

In Sara Blakely’s MasterClass, you’ll find:

  • How to figure out what your purpose is
  • What developing your idea really looks like
  • The entrepreneurial mindset and how to get in it
  • Figuring out a prototype and going through the common mistakes
  • Making your product and testing it
  • Becoming a master of sales so you can sell your product
  • Have a product people want to talk about
  • Going through marketing case studies
  • Creating your price
  • Where to position your product
  • Building a company culture that’s successful
  • The keys to success
  • Finding a support system
  • How to manage self-doubt

Learn more about Sara Blakely’s MasterClass here.

Danny Elfman MasterClass review

Do you love music? Do you love movies? A big part of film is the soundtrack that’s behind it. Sometimes, you don’t even notice it. Many times, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Danny Elfman is a pro in creating music for films.

From high-pressure scenes to romantic ones, Danny has to figure out how to make the most of it. He’s a composer that has been nominated for Oscars four times. And he’s also one of the most well-known composers in the world.

I wasn’t sure what to expect in this class, but I did enjoy it. It’s tailored for those people who love music. But if you love movies, this is also a cool class to take. There are some tidbits in there about managing your time and improving workflow, but I’d still say it’s best for those creating music.

In Danny Elfman’s MasterClass, you’ll learn:

  • Why being classically trained isn’t that important
  • Learning to listen to the director of the film
  • How to tell a story through music
  • Using different melodies to match the themes
  • How to build emotion during a scene with music
  • What really went into Tim Burton’s The Night Before Christmas
  • How to work with a disorganized mind
  • Creating a success template
  • Working past that doubt
  • The different films he’s worked on
  • How to work past your failure
  • Creating originality in the space

You can learn more about Danny Elfman’s class here.

MasterClass FAQs

Is MasterClass worth the money?

Yes, it is. If you want to develop a hobby, take a class to learn more about a topic, or become better in personal development, MasterClass is a great website to subscribe to.

How much does MasterClass cost?

Single classes cost $90. You can access all of the classes with the All-Access Pass for $180 on a yearly subscription.

Does MasterClass give certificates?

Right now, MasterClass doesn’t offer any certificates of completion. While they do send you an email stating that you have completed the course, it won’t get you too far in a career or job.

Who owns MasterClass?

MasterClass was started by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen and is funded by Silicon Valley and Hollywood investors.

Does MasterClass have a free trial?

No, they don't. They used to have a free trial that was offered up until August 2018.

How many classes can you take on MasterClass?

If you have the All-Access Pass, you can take any of the courses that you’d like. If you purchase one class, you can only take that one class.

Why is there an enrollment fee for MasterClass?

MasterClass has two membership options to enroll with: All-Access Pass or individually. They charge an enrollment fee for you to take these classes as they are a for-profit business and need to pay their instructors.

How can you watch your course on MasterClass?

You can use your phone, tablet, computer, laptop, or even your TV to watch the MasterClass courses. Any device with internet can be used.

Why is MasterClass so expensive?

It’s not. We see this a lot, and when taken into perspective, it’s not much at all. Depending on where you live, it may be priced differently, but it’s currently just $180 per year in U.S. dollars.

Does MasterClass have hard skill classes?

Right now, MasterClass focuses on more of a creative, softer skillset. These include things like writing, art, music, cooking, and more. As time goes on, they may add more.

How long is a MasterClass course?

Each class is about an hour or two long. However, it’s broken up into five to ten minute blocks, so you can take breaks whenever you need. Plus, you can adjust the playback speed so the courses go quicker.

Does MasterClass work with Apple TV?

Yes, it does. You can use MasterClass with Apple TV with the MasterClass app.

How do I cancel MasterClass?

If you don’t want your membership, you can cancel MasterClass by going to your account settings. Remember that each pass has a 30-day refund policy as well, so there’s no risk in trying it out.

Want my 120-page book about MasterClass?

How best to use MasterClass during isolation. Let me send it to you right away.

MasterClass vs other online platforms

Like I mentioned before, it often seems like there are a lot of online teaching platforms, and it can be hard to choose which one is right for you. I believe that MasterClass is worth it, but let’s look at how it holds up to its greatest competition.

MasterClass vs Udemy

Udemy is known for its many course offerings. However, this is more of a case of quantity versus quality. When compared to MasterClass, Udemy really doesn’t hold up at all. In fact, it’s completely different.

Udemy is easy to offer a course on. You don’t have to be a self-proclaimed expert or widely known one for that matter. Udemy is basically where you go to find a bargain course that may or may not help you.

But since their courses start out as cheap at $10, who can say no?

MasterClass is a whole different ball game. They offer high-end courses from people you know, love, and admire. They are the true experts in their field, and they have a lot of wisdom to share.

But beyond that, the quality of MasterClass is better. The videos, the course material, and even the website is higher end, better quality, and easier to work with.

MasterClass vs CreativeLive

As you can guess from the name, CreativeLive works with people who are creatives. Their courses are geared for those who may have their own business and want to blog about it and entrepreneurs who like motivation.

CreativeLive does have a lot of courses, and many of them are high quality and good courses to check out. That being said, they don’t have the same high-profile celebrities that MasterClass has.

While their courses may be good, they don’t use the experts like MasterClass does.

MasterClass vs Skillshare

Skillshare is a site that also offers educational videos and may be compared to MasterClass. The main difference between these two is that Skillshare offers more hard skills, like photography and web development, rather than personal development courses.

It really depends on what you’re looking for in an online platform. If you are hoping to work on yourself and expand your knowledge while becoming a better person, MasterClass is better. If you are needing actual hard knowledge about a topic that you work in, Skillshare may be the most beneficial.

Best MasterClass for writers

Are you like me and interested in writing? Lots of people are interested in MasterClass for writers, and for good reason. There are many writing instructors who are superheroes in the writing world. Here’s what I’ve found are the best MasterClass courses for writers:

James Patterson Teaches Writing

Everyone knows James Patterson is one of the most successful writers that is out there. That being said, he doesn’t just get lucky. He’s a master at his process. From outlining to editing, you’ll get everything that James Patterson does to come up with amazing best-sellers over and over again.

If you’re already a fan of James Patterson, this course is the perfect one for you. He’s funny, easy to listen to, and his wisdom transcends the course. It’s one you’ll be listening to for a long time, especially when you hit writers’ block.

Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing

Do you love The Handmaid’s Tale? If so, you already love Margaret Atwood. She’s the creative behind the amazing show, which is based on her book, and she goes into everything you need to know about creative writing.

If you’re struggling with writing a novel, with character development, or anything else, check out Margaret’s uplifting MasterClass and get some inspiration and insight. She worked hard to get to where she is, and she really shines with research, plotting, and narrative.

Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling

He’s so fascinating to listen to, and with his many awards, it’s no wonder why they chose him to lead a MasterClass. He talks about writing short fiction, world building, and creating dialogue that sounds natural and flows.

Considering these are some of the toughest things that fiction writers struggle with, anyone who wants to write fiction needs to check out Neil’s MasterClass to learn all about the art of storytelling.

Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing

A brilliant mind that somehow knows how to break things down for us who struggle with complex topics, Malcolm Gladwell’s course is one to take note of. He goes over what he’s learned in his own career and how to apply it to a successful writing career of your own.

Perhaps the most interesting part of his whole course is that he talks about how reading is what makes you a great writer. If you aren’t a great reader, you can’t be a great writer, and I think that’s the most important thing you can grasp. He says it eloquently and in much more detail, but remember it.

Quick MasterClass Review

Let’s sum up everything we’ve gone over for a quick MasterClass Review in a nutshell:

  • MasterClass costs $180/year for an All-Access Pass or $90 per class
  • MasterClass teaches soft skills that are great for personal development
  • MasterClass has professionals teaching that are well known celebrities
  • MasterClass courses are extremely high quality and you get to learn from top people in their industry, which you would have no other way of learning from

Final answer: Is MasterClass worth the money? Yes, it is. If you want to develop a hobby, take a class to learn more about a topic, or become better in personal development, MasterClass is a great website to subscribe to.

Check out MasterClass here, and let me know in the comments below what you think! Also, here’s the link for the All-Access Pass.

Want my 120-page book about MasterClass?

How best to use MasterClass during isolation. Let me send it to you right away.

Notable replies

  1. kent says:

    I took the James Patterson Masterclass several years ago. I quickly became bored with it. There was virtually no interaction with him or anyone else taking the class. I’m thinking of giving it another try because of David Sedaris. I’m a huge fan of his. I’ve read ever one of his books. I went to see him live recently. I feel like what he has to say could be truly interesting. We’ll see.

  2. I have two classes that I had just started when life got complicated. I intend to complete them when I can. I recently made a checklist of things I do, responsibilities and enjoyment. I have over 60 items and each is at least 2-3 items deep. I have always enjoyed doing things, especially where I could bring order or enjoyment. The world offers many opportunities, Ideapod not the least. Then there are my screenplay(s)

    Yes, I can recommend MasterClass.

  3. Sproft says:

    I think Masterclass is worthwhile as a concept BUT they automatically renew your subscription after 12 months without notifying you first. I bought the subscription as a gift (and noted that when I bought it) - so I think that automatic renewal is unethical in this case. DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO THIS UNETHICAL COMPANY

  4. I read your review last year while looking into MasterClass and found your insights to be incredibly helpful. I subscribed to the All-Access pass because while I’ve always felt called to write, I had no idea where to start, how to start, or even what kind of writing I could fit my words into, aside from poetry. I’ve enrolled in every writing class on MasterClass, from Bob Woodard to R.L. Stine to Shonda Rhimes. And, naturally, Billy Collins.
    My favorite part of the MasterClass is actually the workbooks, which, combined, are to my mind well worth the money. I utilize the writing exercises, the suggested readings, and am slowly finding a place my writing fits best. I have not completed all the exercises, but I have printed each of the workbooks and they’ll continue to be a great resource after my subscription expires.
    I find myself incredibly encouraged as I listen to each of these writers speak about writing. You can feel their passion and in the solitary world of a writer it’s not always easy to find such" like minds". Interestingly enough, I found Billy Collins’ class to be the least helpful, perhaps because I’m already familiar with many of the exercises poets do so, aside from the experience of just listening to a poet talk about poetry, there wasn’t much new for me there.
    So…thanks for your clear breakdown of what to expect from MasterClass. I have no regrets.

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