About Master Class
MasterClass is one of my favorite online learning platforms, and I’ve had personal experience with a fair share of them (Coursera, Skillshare, edX, Rosetta Stone, CreativeLive, and so on).
Compared to many online courses, MasterClass’s follow the format of a one-sided conversation more than an academic setting, which can make learning feel more engaging.
I love that I’m able to learn conventional and not-so-conventional tricks and tips from giants of any industry — some of whom are on my shortlist of favorite authors, actors, musicians, and chefs. Classes are pretty short (2-5 hours total), and the lessons are between 5-25 minutes each.
I also get access to notes, additional reading resources, and a community. And it’s nice that I can download lessons or use Audio Mode in the car as a de facto audiobook on days when my attention span is low.
Plus, the diversity, quality, and flexibility of its online classes are hard to beat. If I’m going through a cooking phase, I can watch bite-sized clips that are interesting and useful. And if something isn’t my number one passion, the allure of a “master” helps me remain interested in the lessons.
Personally, I enjoy having yearly access. If you’re a lifelong learner, it gives you the ability to jump around different subjects with tools like “topic playlists” that queue up stuff you might like. For me, it’s worth the $180 — it’s informative without feeling overly stringent or overwhelming. But if you’re interested in deep-diving into only one topic, I’d recommend auditing a class at Coursera or edX rather than dropping $180 just to access one MasterClass. — Mara Leighton, senior reporter
Who better to teach you how to write for television than Shonda Rhimes or hit a powerful backhand than Serena Williams?
Unfortunately, 23-time-Grand-Slam-winners and famed showrunners aren’t easy to contact. So, MasterClass is bridging the gap and recruiting the best of the best to teach us the secrets to their crafts.
Overview of masterclass
Unlike most e-learning platforms focused on teaching hard skills like cloud computing or UX design, MasterClass targets a different audience: lifelong learners.
You can learn about writing, cooking, sports, business, wellness, and more — with each topic taught by an expert. For $180 a year, you can access all the courses on the site. Tip: right now, you can get a first-time annual membership for $117 ($63 off) as part of MasterClass’s Father’s Day sale through June 19.
We report on many education platforms, and MasterClass is one of our favorites (as well as one of our go-to gifts). The videos have great production value, courses are engaging and fast-moving, and you get a mix of practical tools as well as nuggets of insights into the lives of the celebrities we love.
Plus, the app makes using MasterClass very easy: I’ve even listened to the audio-only versions like pseudo podcasts.
What you’ll find below:
Some common FAQ
- A list of the 19 best MasterClass courses
- A personal review of MasterClass
How much does MasterClass cost?
MasterClass costs $180 for its annual subscription ($15 a month), which gives you unlimited access to all its classes until you cancel. Right now, you can buy a first-time membership for $117 until June 19 as part of its Father’s Day sale.
How does MasterClass work?
MasterClass classes are about 2-5 hours on average, with individual lessons ranging from 2-5 minutes. Classes include pre-recorded video lessons by your instructor, a class workbook, interactive assignments, and sometimes community activities. MasterClass may have opportunities for students to submit work to instructors for feedback, but that’s not the norm.
Is MasterClass worth it?
If you will use MasterClass more than a few times, yes, the yearly pass may be worth it. If you won’t, or you need something more intensive or traditionally academic, consider other online learning sites like Coursera or edX.
The Power of Empathy
Learn the power of empathy with Pharrell Williams, Robin Arzón, Roxane Gay, Walter Mosley, Robert Reffkin, Gloria Steinem, and Cornel West
In MasterClass’s first multi-course, multi-instructor series, The Power of Empathy features a mix of famous entertainers, authors, entrepreneurs, and activists who all share different stories and perspectives on what it means to lead an empathic life.
Anna Wintour Teaches Creativity and Leadership
Learn creativity and leadership skills with Anna Wintour
Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour has inspired movies and biographies, but what actually makes the iconic fashion leader so influential? In this MasterClass, Wintour shares her tips for making tough decisions, leading with your gut, and managing a team of people you trust. Read a review of the course here.
Chris Voss Teaches the Art of Negotiation
During his time as an FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss mastered all of the facets of communication and compromise. While your everyday negotiations may not be as high-stake, Voss’s strategies can help you get the outcomes you want — whether it’s a promotion at your job or a big decision in your relationship. Read a review of the course hereDuring his time as an FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss mastered all of the facets of communication and compromise. While your everyday negotiations may not be as high-stake, Voss’s strategies can help you get the outcomes you want — whether it’s a promotion at your job or a big decision in your relationship. Read a review of the course here.
Samuel L. Jackson Teaches Acting
It’s hard to believe now that Samuel L. Jackson had a stutter growing up, one that actually stopped him from talking for a year. You can learn about how he overcame this obstacle to become an Oscar nominee in this course on acting, which particularly focuses on how to develop a character.
Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques
Chef Thomas Keller’s restaurants, like The French Laundry, have been awarded quite a few Michelin stars and have people eagerly waiting months at a time for reservations. In his MasterClass, he breaks down the basics of some of the most essential cooking techniques, like braising meats and making stocks. Read a review of the course (and other MasterClass cooking courses) here.
Ron Finley Teaches Gardening
Ron Finley has launched a movement around an unusual form of protest: gardening. In 2011, Finley was issued an arrest warrant for planting fruits and vegetables on the curbside strip outside his home in South Central LA — a food desert. Two years later, his story helped change LA laws and, a decade later, he’s helped plant dozens of community gardens. In his MasterClass, Finley teaches you how to grow your own food, avoid killing your plants, and the beauty and community you can find in healthy food. Read a review of the course here.
Hillary Rodham Clinton Teaches the Power of Resilience
For the first time ever, Hillary reads her would-be 2016 victory speech — and shares her advice from her decades-long political career as a former first lady, US senator, Secretary of State, and first female US presidential nominee. Read more about the course here, and about MasterClass’s White House series here.
Serena Williams Teaches Tennis
If you want to be a pro, you have to practice like one. Get the chance to experience the same drills Serena runs every day, as well as some insight into the importance of mental strength in the game.
Questlove Teaches DJing
Questlove — iconic DJ, Grammy winner, and The Roots drummer — teaches collecting and mixing music. You’ll learn how to transition from genre to genre to curate the perfect playlist, whether just for yourself or to wow your friends.
Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
Writer’s block is a major challenge, but hopefully, some inspiration from Margaret Atwood can bring you out of your funk. The Man Booker Prize-winner’s lessons delve into character development, point of view, structuring a novel, and more. Read a review of the course here.
Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography
Annie Leibovitz claims the title of first-ever female chief photographer at “Rolling Stone,” along with plenty of other accomplishments. Here, she sheds light on her photography philosophy and shows how a great photo comes to life.
Christina Aguilera Teaches Singing
Whether you want to fine-tune your vocal craft or have no musical experience beyond singing “happy birthday” to your friends and family, Christina Aguilera has the techniques to help you take it up a notch. The Grammy Award winner gives you practical tips on how to polish your sound as well as share some stories about her career trajectory.
Apollonia Poilâne Teaches Bread Baking
Apollonia Poilâne, the third-generation baker and CEO of the famous Parisian bakery Poilâne, teaches you how to use all of your senses when baking an ideal loaf from scratch. She outlines best practices for a variety of French breads — rustic wheat, rye, brioche, and her beloved sourdough loaves — with warmth and clarity. Read a review of the course (and other MasterClass cooking courses) here.
Neil deGrasse Tyson Teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication
Ivy League degrees, bestselling books, and a Grammy award are just some of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s accolades. In this course, the renowned astrophysicist will help you see into the mind of a scientist, giving you plenty of skills to help you strengthen the way you think and communicate along the way.
Carlos Santana Teaches the Art and Soul of Guitar
If you’re looking for a classic, technical guitar lesson, this course probably isn’t for you. If, however, you’re looking to understand how one of the world’s most popular guitarists approaches the instrument, draws inspiration for his music, and found his unique sound, you’ll love this class with Carlos Santana.
Bob Iger Teaches Business Strategy and Leadership
As the former CEO and current Executive Chairman of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger was responsible for some of the brand’s most important acquisitions, including Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. His lesson dives into everything from business insights from the acquisition process to how to use your time effectively and productively.