Masterclass Review: Is The Expert Course Website Worth It?

Masterclass Review: Is The Expert Course Website Worth It?

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I might make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

How much would you pay to learn from Gordon Ramsey, DeadMau5, Hans Zimmer, Oprah, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Martin, and other experts in their field? I probably couldn’t afford a one-on-one session, but I can definitely afford their Masterclass class. If you’re a big believer in self-growth or just want to learn from some amazing experts, take a look!

Check Out Masterclass

Masterclass logo in black and white

What Is Masterclass?

Masterclass is a site that has 50+ experts teaching video classes on their field. From DJ DeadMau5 to writer Dan Brown to television producer Shonda Rhimes, Masterclass is an incredible site that allows you access to the minds of geniuses in their fields.

David Rasmussen and David Rogier started Masterclass in 2015 to allow everyone the chance to learn from a master expert. In the digital age, instead of taking a course at college, you can learn from the experts while in your pajamas, sitting in your living room. Since Masterclass’s inception, they’ve raised $136 Million from venture capitalists, showing that people really believe everyone wants to learn from and get access to the experts.

One of the reasons Masterclass exists is so that expert knowledge isn’t lost throughout the ages. We’ll have videos and explanations from experts centuries after they have passed.

You can think of Masterclass like Udemy, except instead of random teachers on Udemy, Masterclass uses world-class production, has teachers who are celebrities and experts in their fields, course workbooks, and other resources.

Masterclass has been featured a ton in the news, check out the media that has written on them below.

Masterclass in the news: Today show, NBC, The New York Times, Billboard, ESPN, Vanity Fair

Does Masterclass Have A Free Trial? Can I Try Masterclass Out?

Prior to August 2018, Masterclass had a free trial.

Since then, Masterclass has canceled its free trial, but they have a 30-day refund, so that’s basically a free trial. Check it out, if you don’t like it, you can always request a refund.

Who Is Masterclass Perfect For? What Makes It Special?

Masterclass is perfect for those who are interested in the creative industries. There aren’t other websites that offer a large group of courses by experts in acting, filmmaking, singing, music production, writing, cooking, and photography.

Masterclass courses are completely online, so if you’re the kind of person who needs to go to a class in person, then Masterclass might not be for you.

Each instructor on the platform was probably paid six figures or more, plus recurring revenue for people who take their course. Since they had to create several hour long courses, a course workbook, and sit for office house, they took a ton of time and energy to help a large audience learn all they have to offer and made their course the best they could.

Masterclass Instructor Announcements

Put in other terms, the experts Masterclass got to teach courses are literally at the top of their field and people you hear in the news all the time. You’re not going to find instruction from experts like this on any other site. If you wanted a one on one session with some of these celebrities, you’d probably need to pay in the thousands per day.

What Does A Normal Masterclass Look Like?

Each course has ~15 modules, which are anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes. There are now 50+ classes on Masterclass and they are expanding their library consistently. Think of it as Netflix quality production for self-development from the masters.

Masterclass classes, lessons, and lengths

Each course is a few hours long, broken up by around 15 mini-sections with workbooks, homework, and forums for students to congregate in and discuss.

The production quality of Masterclass reminds me of a Netflix original. Crisp, high-quality, with beautiful edits and sets. Check out a few of our favorite trailers below to get a feel for the quality:

Remember the cronut? Dominique Ansel invented it. Take a look at his French Pastry Masterclass.

Learn from 5 time New York Times Bestseller Malcolm Gladwell :

Learn from Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, and other award-winning television show producer Shonda Rhimes:

Each instructor has their own teaching style. Some are practical and teach you step-by-step instructions on how to do something. Others in the more artistic industry might try to spark your creativity or teach you how the artistic process works. Some teachers simply sit in front of the camera in front of a desk, others move around the room, and still other Masterclass experts have recruited students and teach them on camera to get a more classroom feel.

If you’re cruising Masterclass, you can watch previews of each course to decide if you want to start it. You can check out the style of each instructor.

How Much Is Masterclass?

Masterclass All-Access Pass

Masterclass has two tiers of pricing. Masterclass is $180 per year for all classes through the All Access Pass or just $90 for a single course. This means that if you think you’ll take more than 2 courses per year you should go with the All Access Pass. If you’re not satisfied with the platform, you can request a refund within 30 days, no questions asked.

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who wants to grow their skills and find inspiration from the best in an industry, they also offer the ability to gift someone a Masterclass single course or All Access Pass.

You get unlimited access to all the tana

es of each expert teacher. You could literally watch all the videos in a year and gain a ton of knowledge.

Most courses by experts in blogging, coding, etc are a few hundred dollars just for one course. By that comparison, $180 a year for all the classes in Masterclass is a steal.

Do The Masterclasses Have Homework, Course Workbook, Or Other Tools?

Masterclass students

Some Masterclasses do have homework and are structured in weekly increments. For instance, the hilarious Steve Martin course is broken up into weekly increments with homework for each course. No one is going to check if you actually do the homework, and you can also just take the entire Steve Martin course in one go, but that’s probably not the best way to digest the material!

Each Masterclass offers a printable workbook that you can use. For example, the Aaron Sorkin offers a 40-page workbook. The Malcolm Gladwell course has a similar workbook, and if you do your homework, you’ll have written a giant blog post or long newspaper article by the end.

Each course also has recommended reading, so if you want to get more out of the course, you’ll know where to access those resources.

The Christina Aguilera has a cool rangefinder tool that shows you how many ranges you can sing. I can’t do 5 like the masters, but 2 for me is a start!

Can You Reach Out To Other Students In Masterclass?

Masterclass the hub

While you can’t tell who is in the Masterclass in real time, you can chat with the other students.

In Masterclass, there is something called The Hub, which is a large forum of students. You can post your work — whether it be a screenplay, music score, or mixtape, and get feedback. The comments are well-thought out and kind, almost as if a professor was critiquing your term paper. Some complaints have been made about The Hub though, as there aren’t a lot of students who hang out in each Hub.

Some classes also have a Facebook group that you can interact with students in. This is more active because students will see updates whenever the Facebook group is updated.

Do You Get To Interact With The Masterclass Instructors?

If you’re part of the first group to take a specific Masterclass, the expert will host office hours, in which you might get the chance to get your questions answered personally by an expert. After that period is over, you’ll still be able to access this extra footage and hear the questions others have asked, because you probably had some of them as well!

One student, Kecia Bal, even had the chance to write a book with James Patterson and it got published! This is an extreme outlier though, and most students won’t get the chance to meet their instructor, so don’t expect this special treatment!

Is There A Masterclass App?

Masterclass app to learn new skills

For those on a self-growth and learning bender, check out the Masterclass app. You can easily watch a module that is 5 to 15 minutes long while you’re on the way to work or during your lunch break. Since each Masterclass has roughly ~25 modules, you’ll learn a ton from one specific Masterclass expert in under a month!

What Were My Favorite Masterclasses?

Obviously, this section is going to depend on your favorite celebrities and experts, and what industries you’re interested in.

For me, that includes Malcolm Gladwell, one of my favorite non-fiction writers. I own all of his books and his Outliers book is one of my all-time favorites. Shonda Rhimes for learning how she creates such engaging shows that I love — Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, and Private Practice. Serena Williams because I love tennis and loved being coached by one of my favorite players. Jimmy Chin because he’s one of the best adventure photography

Other experts I would love to see on the platform are Seth Godin, Anna Wintour, Mark Cuban, and so much more hint hint!

Masterclass Experts By Industry

I definitely love taking some classes from people I admire, but I like to start learning from the masters in a specific industry so I can get a rounded understanding of that industry. We broke down Masterclass experts by industry for you here.

We listed each category by the number of courses that are offered on Masterclass:

  • Writing (8)
  • Filmmaking/Directing (7)
  • Music (6)
  • Cooking & Wine (6)
  • Acting (4)
  • Singing (3)
  • Photography (2)
  • Sports (2)
  • Fashion (2)
  • Screenplay/TV Writing (2)
  • Games (2)
  • Design (2)
  • Other (4)

Since the Masterclass All-Access Pass for a year is $180, and each course is $90, take a look by each category and see if there are more than two courses you’d take in each category. If you are interested in multiple categories, then you can combine the number of courses you’d like to take so you can decide if you want the All-Access Pass or not. Writing, Filmmaking/Directing, Music, Cooking & Win, Acting, and Singing all have more than 2 courses in their respective categories.

Writing Masterclass

Malcolm Gladwell – Writing

R.L. Stine – Writing For Young Audiences

Margaret Atwood – Creative Writing

Dan Brown – Writing Thrillers

James Patterson – Writing

Judy Blume – Writing

David Mamet – Dramatic Writing

Bob Woodward – Investigative Journalism

 Filmmaking/Directing Masterclass

Spike Lee – Independent Filmmaking

Mira Nair – Independent Filmmaking

Spike Lee – Independent Filmmaking

Ken Burns – Documentary Filmmaking

Martin Scorsese – Filmmaking

Werner Herzog – Filmmaking

Ron Howard – Directing

Music (Instruments and Electronic Production) Masterclass

Armin Van Buuren – Dance Music

Carlos Santana – Art and Soul of Guitar

Deadmau5 – Electronic Music Production

Hans Zimmer – Film Scoring

Herbie Hancock – Jazz

Tom Morello – Electric Guitar

Cooking & Wine Masterclass

Gordon Ramsey – Cooking: Restaurant Recipes At Home, Cooking I

Thomas Keller – Cooking Techniques: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces; Vegetables, Pasta, and Eggs

James Suckling – Wine Appreciation

Dominique Ansel – French Pastry Fundamentals

Alice Waters – Art of Home Cooking

Wolfgang Puck – Cooking

Acting Masterclass

Helen Mirren – Acting

Samuel L. Jackson – Acting

Steve Martin – Comedy

Judd Apatow – Comedy

Singing Masterclass

Christina Aguilera – Singing

Usher – Art of Performance

Reba McEntire – Country Music

Photography Masterclass

Annie Leibovitz – Photography

Jimmy Chin – Adventure Photography

Sports Masterclass

Serene Williams – Tennis

Stephen Curry – Shooting, Ball-Handling, and Scoring Basketball

Fashion Masterclass

Marc Jacobs – Fashion Design

Diane Von Furstenberg – Building A Fashion Brand

Screenplay/TV Writing Masterclass

Shonda Rhimes – Writing For Television

Aaron Sorkin – Screenwriting

Games Masterclass

Daniel Negreanu – Poker

Garry Kasparov – Chess

Design Masterclass

Will Wright – Game Design and Theory

Frank Gehry – Design And Architecture

Other Masterclass

Paul Krugman – Economics and Society

Chris Hadfield – Space Exploration

Daniel Axelrod and Karl Rove – Campaign Strategy and Messaging

Dr. Jane Goodall – Conservation

Where Does Masterclass Fall Short?

As we mentioned above, Masterclass doesn’t have a community-oriented classroom.

If you go to college or an in-person class, you can meet up and discuss concepts in real-time with fellow students, further sparking creativity. You’ll also be able to interact with your instructor and ask them questions one on one to learn better.

I don’t think Masterclass can be a replacement for in-person classes, but it might be a good supplement. If you’re an actor, take the acting courses and apply them to your acting. Then go to an in-person class where an instructor can critique you in real-time. Often times, you think you are applying everything you’ve learned, but since you can’t see yourself, you might not realize what you are doing wrong.

Masterclass Pros And Cons

Masterclass Pros

The main pro of Masterclass is that you get taught by world-class experts in their field. You’ll also get a workbook, access to office hours, and 24 modules for a course that is a few hours long. Getting access to the best information an expert has learned over the course of their life is invaluable.Instead of just learning theory from a book, you’ll get to learn from someone with real-life experience.

Masterclass also offers an app via Google Play or the Apple store, so you can watch videos during your spare time.

The All-Access Masterclass Pass is pretty enticing, because you’ll get access to all the courses instead of just 1 course for $90. If you take more than 2 courses a year, that pass is more worth it.

Honestly, there isn’t anything really comparable to Masterclass in the creatives field.

Masterclass Cons

When you have experts teaching a class, they sometimes forget what the basics or monetary constraints are. This is evident in one of Gordon Ramsey’s class about how to make fancy omelets with truffles and uni. Most courses are for normal ingredients or people though! Each class has beginner tips as well as advanced techniques though, so you’ll get a well-rounded education.

Masterclass doesn’t have technical courses. If you’re looking for programming, web dev, or other STEM-based topics, you’re better off heading to Treehouse, Pluralsight, or Codeacademy.

Check Out Masterclass

Have you guys checked out Masterclass? What did you think?

Author: Olivia

Olivia worked in finance and wants you to learn the secrets of financial independence. She believes there are so many ways to monetize your life and make money doing the things you're already doing because so many companies offer free money.

The average savings account rate is 0.1%. The big banks have incredibly low savings accounts rates. CIT Bank offers a 1.75% savings account. You can open an account with just $100 and no monthly fees or charge . Tired of being charged fees and getting peanuts in interest at your current bank? Open a CIT Bank savings account in less than 15 minutes online.

If you have a car, Rideshare apps allow you to pick a direction you want to go twice a day, so you can get extra money going somewhere you were driving to anyway at least twice a day. Get a $300 sign-up bonus with Lyft.

One of my favorite ways ways of monetizing my life is via credit card bonuses with cards that give you cashback or rewards. Check out our review of the Chase Sapphire cards, which give you at least $500 in cash or $625 in travel credit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *