Published by: Julia
If you are wondering which Masterclass is best, look no further. So far, I have taken 50 of the 80+ courses that are currently available. So, whether you want to know which is the best cooking, business or acting masterclass, you are in the right place.
Update: Masterclass is currently doing a buy 1 gift 1 promotion, but it will end soon.
Why I am able to recommend masterclass.com
When Masterclass.com launched in 2015, a friend told me about it. But I passed on it. Simply because it sounded too good to be true. I just could not believe that many of the world´s most successful actors, business owners, directors, cooks, singers, athletes, and entertainers, would be prepared to give up their time to teach others.
Yet, at launch, the platform had already attracted Dustin Hoffman, Serena Williams, and James Patterson. All of whom produced what proved to be amazing masterclasses.
Courses that provided an incredible insight into how they had become so successful and how they ticked. As well as how you could replicate their success.
Unfortunately, I believed that the masterclass.com platform would not last. I just assumed that they would not be able to persuade enough celebrities and titans of business to create courses. Boy, was I wrong, 4 years down the line, they have more than 80 classes and are adding several new ones each month.
My cynical view meant that I missed out on being a part of the best internet-based educational platform, from the very beginning. I only discovered this when another friend bought me an all-access pass, in 2019.
From the first course, I took, was the Neil Gaiman writing one, I was hooked.
Pretty soon, I had powered my way through all of the writing courses. What I learned there inspired me to write these Masterclass reviews. On that day, this site was born. Since then, I´ve taken all the cooking and film masterclasses. My plan is to complete the business and music sections next.
The masterclasses I have taken ranked
So, I am now in a position to rank more than 60% of the courses that are available from Masterclass.com. Plus, as I complete each new course, I will slot it into the appropriate place on this ranking page.
Rather than rank them in a big long list, as a few others have done, I thought it would be helpful to do so by course type.
That way, if you love cooking you can go straight to that section of this article and decide which culinary art Masterclass to start your learning journey with. Alternatively, if you are looking for a gift to give to a film buff or a writer, you can quickly track down a Masterclass that is sure to delight them.
What is the best masterclass cooking course?
The culinary arts section is, currently, the biggest on Masterclass.com. At the time of my writing this, the platform offers 13 food-related masterclasses.
Whether you want to learn haute cuisine, how to cook hearty food, bake, choose wines or cook the perfect barbecue, masterclass.com, has you covered.
When you buy the all-access pass, you can take all 13 courses. It only costs you as much as it would if you were to buy just 2 individual masterclass.com courses. In fact, this pass enables you to take every single one of the platforms 70+ courses for the price you would pay for 2 individual courses. Find out more about how the MC all-access pass works from their website.
This full Masterclass review post tells you about the various features and how they improve the learning experience.
Below I have ranked the Masterclass culinary arts courses in order of best to last:
1 Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques MasterClass
Great for every kind of cook, using this course you will learn the fundamental skills you need to prepare all kinds of food.
This was my favorite cooking masterclass. I learned more in 6 hours than I had from a lifetime of cooking.
Over the years, I´ve watched thousands of cooking shows, worked briefly in a kitchen and have taken several traditional cooking classes. Plus, most weeks, I cook at least 10 meals and love hosting dinner parties.
So, I thought I knew a thing or two about cooking. As it turned out I was wrong about that. In his first masterclass, Thomas Keller goes through a long list of cooking methods, including glazing, brazing, blanching, purees, roasting and much more besides.
This course is full of tips and tricks that help you to produce tasty food that also looks great. He also covers important topics like kitting your kitchen out with the right equipment and how to source and store key ingredients.
Thomas Keller´s cooking techniques course enables you to learn the fundamental skills you need to become an exceptional cook.
To find out more about this cooking masterclass, you can read my review of all 3 of Mr. Keller’s excellent masterclasses. Or click here, to check out the pricing.
2 Thomas Keller Masterclass 2 – Meats, stocks, and sauces
A must for meat-lovers everywhere who want to buy good-quality ingredients and be able to use them to their full potential.
I think you can see that I am a bit of a fan of Thomas Keller’s- So, it is probably not surprising that my 2nd choice for my list of best culinary arts courses is another one of his.
In this course, he takes you through everything you need to know about choosing, storing, preparing and cooking meat. The workbook you get as part of the deal is especially useful. It includes a lot of little details that will help you to get the most out of each joint of meat that you buy.
Thomas Keller´s courses are relatively long. But, this is a good thing. It means that he covers each subject in a lot of detail. For example, he shows you each poultry, lamb, pork, and beef cut and explains what type of dishes you can create with each of them.
He demonstrates 10 meat cooking techniques and teaches you how to make 14 sauces that are ideal for complementing all kinds of meat-based dishes. There are also more than a dozen recipes included in this course.
Several of the other cooking masterclasses cover the subject of cooking with meat. But there is no doubt that Thomas does it best. Even better than Aaron Franklin does in his Texas BBQ masterclass.
If you want more information, before buying you just need to read my full review of this and the two other Thomas Keller cooking masterclasses. For ease of use, I have grouped all three together onto one page. The meat, sauces and stocks course review is the one at the bottom of that page. You can also find out more and get the price by clicking here.
3 Dominique Ansel Teaches French Pastry Fundamentals
Perfect for people who like to bake and want to create special cakes for their friends and family.
I have a sweet tooth, so could not resist taking Dominique Ansel´s French Pastry masterclass. If you have been lucky enough to visit a real French patisserie you will know just how beautiful and tasty their cakes are. They are a wonder to behold and eat.
When I took Dominique’s course, I never dreamed that I would be able to make the Eclairs, madeleines, macaroons, croissants, Mille-Feuille and Kouign Amann recipes he shared in his masterclass. In reality, the instructions were so good that I was able to do so with ease.
The thing I liked the most about this cake and dessert masterclass was the way Ansel broke the skills needed to make each pastry down into easy steps. This was great because it meant that you could use those techniques to make many different types of cakes. For example, I regularly use his gluten-free sponge base and mini Swiss meringue recipes to make a range of special cakes.
If you want to read more about this course and the wonderful pastries you will learn about you can do so, by reading my full review. If you click here, you can take a look at the actual course and learn about the pricing.
4 Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking MasterClass
A fantastic introduction to the art of cooking that provides you with great ways to perfect the key skills every chef needs.
Gordon Ramsay´s restaurants have been awarded a total of 16 Michelin stars. Yet, the food that he cooks is not pretentious. It is simply tasty food that can just as easily be served at a family meal as it can at a dinner party.
Gordon has created two courses for Masterclass.com. The one I am telling you about here is the first one. His aim in this course is to teach you the most important kitchen skills. For example, how to break down a whole chicken and a whole fish.
He also demonstrates knife skills and shows you how to kit out your kitchen. Surprisingly, he also manages to weave 13 recipes into this first course. Including, his dreamy scrambled eggs.
This is another great course for people who are relatively new to cooking. But I also know professional chefs who really enjoyed Gordon Ramsay´s 1st Masterclass and felt that they were able to learn something from it.
You can find out more about what I learned when I took his course, by clicking here. If you want to know how much the course costs and see a full list of the 20 videos that are available when you sign up for it, just visit this page.
5 Wolfgang Puck Teaches Cooking MasterClass
A practical cooking course that covers some unusual subjects and includes a few vegan recipes, which is particularly good for beginners.
Before taking his masterclass, I had never heard of Wolfgang Puck, which means I was missing out. He really is a master chef and a good teacher as well.
The dishes he shows you are mostly easy to recreate at home. His stock is even better than the one Thomas Keller teaches you to make in his masterclass.
I especially liked the fact that Wolfgang explains how to train your palette. It is a skill that does not come naturally to most people, me included.
Refreshingly, Wolfgang includes several vegan dishes in his course. He also quickly takes you through the basics of preparing meat and fish. Best of all, he shows you how to enhance your family favorites. I´ve personally used several of his tips, with, mostly, good results.
His cocktails video was great too. Your guests are sure to enjoy your providing them with a special drink, before their meal.
6 Alice Waters Teaches Home Cooking MasterClass
Ideal for home cooks, who want to eat slow grown organic produce without paying a fortune to do so.
For those looking for hearty, homely recipes Alice Waters cooking masterclass is a must. She is an award-winning chef who runs Chez Panisse in Berkley, California, which won the Gourmet magazine Best Restaurant in America award.
Alice is a leading proponent of slow food. She advocates people eating organic produce and meats. So, her course starts out by showing you how to source and buy this type of food. During the first few videos, she explains how to store and preserve what you buy ensuring that you get the most out of it.
I do not personally live this way. Oddly, this meant that I ended up learning far more from Alice than I did from most of the other chefs.
All of the recipes she shares use ingredients that come into season together. This means that her food is not only delicious it is also very nourishing and affordable. Provided, of course, you do what she does and only cook certain dishes at certain times of the year. I don’t do this religiously. But I do find myself looking out for and buying more local products, which means I have actually ended up eating more seasonal food.
7 Aaron Franklin Teaches Texas-Style BBQ
Any fan of BBQ food will love this course, but it is also a good way to learn how to choose, prep, store and cook all kinds of meat.
Aaron Franklin´s Texas barbecue restaurant has a legendary status. Every day, since it opened, they have sold out of brisket completely.
You would think that someone who can sell out like that would want to keep how they do it as a secret. Not Aaron, he shares it all, including the recipe for his famous brisket.
Whether you want to cook for a few friends or a huge crowd, the barbecue skills Franklin teaches will prove to be invaluable. He shows you everything from setting and lighting a fire to how to carve up your meat and serve it all at the right temperature. Aaron also explains what equipment you need including how to buy a decent smoker, set it up, select your wood and keep the fire at the right temperature.
My Aaron Franklin BBQ masterclass review tells you about some of the other skills you will learn as well as how to get the most out of this excellent course. You can also go straight to the masterclass course page, by clicking here.
8 Thomas Keller Masterclass 3 – Seafood, Sous Vide and Desserts
This is probably the most unusual cooking course that is available on the Masterclass.com platform. In this course, Thomas Keller covers the subject of Sous Vide cooking. He is clearly a big fan of this relatively unusual cooking technique.
I have never tried it, so was fascinated. But I was also a bit worried about being able to apply what I was learning in my home kitchen. So, I was especially pleased to see him explain how to use this fantastic cooking technique without having to buy any specialist equipment.
Only around 20% of this course is dedicated to cooking using the sous vide technique. The rest of it is all about fish. It is the most comprehensive fish cooking course I have ever come across.
If you love fish and seafood, make this your first masterclass. You won´t be sorry that you took it.
Thomas goes through everything in great detail and provides some fantastic tips to make the process of preparing your fish to be cooked as easy as possible. His salmon de-boning technique is the easiest I have ever seen. Despite not being much of a fish fan myself, I have actually cooked several of the recipes from this course.
Being able to truss a monkfish tail and cook fish in salt are both skills I never thought I would need. But, when I wanted to impress my dinner guests I ended up using what I had learned. Both dishes turned out well. The ability to play the Masterclass videos at half speed really came in handy on those occasions. I was able to focus in and get everything just right.
Unfortunately, the dessert section was not as good. I think he ran out of time, which is why he was only able to include a few desserts in his masterclass. Luckily, I had already taken Dominique Ansel´s French Pastry course, so I was not relying completely on Thomas.
Clicking here will enable you to buy this excellent cooking masterclass. Or, if you want to know more, read my in-depth review of Thomas Keller´s fish Masterclass.
9 Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking Restaurant Recipes at Home
Restaurant standard recipes, for more advanced cooks, that presented in a way that anyone can understand and follow. This masterclass includes several that are suitable for vegetarians.
This is the 2nd of Gordon Ramsay’s masterclasses and it is the more “chefy” of the two. If you want ideas for a dinner party and to learn more advanced cooking techniques this is the culinary masterclass for you. In this course, Gordon Ramsay lets his Michelin star credentials shine through.
His 2nd masterclass is shorter than his first, but he still manages to show you step by step how to make 13 complete meals. That means that you learn to make about 25 different new dishes. Plus, you get to learn some cooking techniques he did not cover in his first course.
There is no doubt that the dishes have been picked with dinner parties in mind. But Gordon also shows you how to adapt them to make them suitable for the family.
He also shares some brilliant ways to use up any leftovers. That way you will not end up wasting any of the ingredients, some of which could be expensive to buy. His crispy duck with red endive and spinach is now a family favorite and Gordon´s red wine poached egg with asparagus and mushroom can be cooked very quickly.
It is also nice to see him considering people with special dietary needs. Those recipe adaptations have clearly been carefully considered. Plus, this course includes some really nice vegetarian options.
Like I did for Thomas Keller´s 3 courses, I have combined the reviews for both of Gordon Ramsay’s Masterclasses into one article. But, if you particularly want to find out more about his 2nd cooking course, clicking this link will take you to the right point on the page for you to be able to do so. For pricing etc. just click here instead.
10 James Suckling Teaches Wine Appreciation
Nice food always tastes better when you pair it with the right wine. This masterclass shows you how to do that and is also a must for wine buffs.
James Suckling is a world-renowned wine critic. In this masterclass, he shares many of the tricks of the trade, which will make it possible to always choose the right wine.
He quickly takes you through the hundred points wine quality system. and explains how anyone can start a wine cellar. You also get to learn about how wine is made.
If you enjoy drinking wine by the glass when you are out, James also has you covered. In his masterclass, he explains how to read a wine list.
11 Massimo Bottura Teaches Modern Italian Cooking
New wave Italian cooking for everyone. A fantastic course for creative cooks who are willing to use their palette to experiment.
This is an amazing opportunity to learn from a man whose restaurant was voted as the best in the world, in 2018. When it comes to food, he is something of a genius. Massimo Bottura has taken dozens of classic Italian dishes and somehow made them even better.
You learn how to make a long list of sauces and mayonnaises which opens up a world of possibilities. He shows you how to make fresh pasta and use it in all sorts of ways. Massimo’s panettone souffle is divine yet is not hard to make.
But, what I liked most about this course is the fact that you learn how to turn your leftovers into beautiful meals. Massimo’s best classes are the ones that show you how to substitute one ingredient for another.
If you are looking for a masterclass that will help you to take your cooking skills to the next level, this is an excellent choice. This link will take you straight to the course at Masterclass.com. But, if you would like to know more about what you will learn, you could always click through and read my in-depth review.
Which is the best masterclass for creative writing
As someone who writes a lot, I was immediately drawn to the writing courses that are available on masterclass.com. The idea of learning from world-famous writers like Dan Brown and James Patterson was irresistible.
I knew the courses would be good and they did not disappoint. There was not a bad one among them. I can honestly recommend them all. But it is probably best to start with the form of writing that you are most interested in.
Currently, you can choose between, poetry, creating comics, thrillers, crime novels, children´s books, screenwriting, and dramatic writing. More courses are being added all the time, so, I am sure even more genres will be covered.
If you are interested in writing non-fiction, the two journalism courses may be a better option for you. I particularly like the fact that different types of writing are covered. Including writing for TV, creating comics and screenwriting. Pretty much every type of writer can benefit from learning for some of the world´s best writers.
Find out more about your favorite authors by taking their masterclasses
But, before I dive in and rank the writing courses, I must just mention the fact that the writing masterclasses really are for everyone.
They provide a fascinating insight into how the mind of some of the world´s best writers work. How they do their research, where they write, why they tell the stories they do and a little bit about how they live their lives.
If you are a fan of a specific genre or author, definitely take a couple of these writing courses. A friend of mine who even hates writing emails has taken about 6 of them and has loved every one of them. He describes the experience as being like watching an in-depth documentary. One that you know tells you the truth because it has actually been made by the author themselves.
He has recently bought an all-access pass so he can watch even more of them at a bargain price. The pass enables you to take all 80+ masterclasses for the price you would pay for just 2 of them if you were to buy them individually.
1 Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling MasterClass
This is the best creative writing masterclass course. It offers so much for everyone from beginners to experienced writers and covers so many writing genres.
Everyone loves a good story. Humans are built to learn from them and feel compelled to share their stories.
Neil Gaiman understands this and has turned storytelling into an elevated art form. This is in part because he has not limited himself to just one format. He writes novels, comics, radio plays and is also a screenwriter and performer.
In his masterclass, Neil shows you the best way to find your voice as a writer. He explains how to structure a story, so your readers cannot stop turning the pages. I regularly use his advice to write everything down that you know about your characters and subject before writing the actual story. This works like a dream for me it makes me think, come up with more ideas and feel more confident about my ability to tell the story or write the article.
Any kind of writer will definitely benefit from taking Neil´s course. The skills he teaches are all highly transferable. Not to mention the fact that this is a fascinating insight into how the mind of one of the world´s most versatile writers works. It is also a must for anyone who is a big fan of his work.
You can find out more about what his masterclass has to offer, by reading the review I wrote just after taking his course for the 2nd time. Or you can use this link to take you to the masterclass site to buy Neil’s excellent creative writing masterclass.
2 Dan Brown Teaches Thriller Writing MasterClass
A fascinating insight into Dan Brown’s creative process and the mind of the man who gave the world Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code.
I nearly put Dan Brown at the top of my best masterclass for writers list, but Neil´s course was a little more in-depth, so Dan gets the 2nd spot.
Whether you are a fan of his writing or not, you are sure to learn a lot from him. As you would expect Dan´s research process is thorough. I picked up a few unique tips about where to find out more about practically any subject. His suggestion that you dig into the moral grey areas to make your stories more edgy and relevant has also proved to be a great tip.
If you are looking for new ways to structure your stories, build your characters and provide an interesting backdrop for them, Dan´s course is for you.
But it would also make a great gift for someone who is a fan of his work. Many of the examples he uses are drawn from his best sellers.
Dan´s informative and interesting Masterclass can be bought here for a great price. If you are still not 100% sure that this course is for you, why not take a look at my full-length review and learn a bit more about what it has to offer.
3 James Patterson Teaches Writing MasterClass
A writing course that is chock full of fantastic insights that make the creative process easier.
James Patterson is a prolific writer and a very successful one. According to some estimates he has earned over $700 million, over the course of just one decade.
Like Neil Gaiman, he has not stuck to just one format. Over the years, he has written, romance, thriller, non-fiction books, and serial novels. Despite this, he is clearly open to trying different things and further honing his skills.
The best thing about this particular course is the practical advice you can glean from taking it. James shares lots of tips, including how to find the time to write every day and gain an understanding of what your readers are thinking. He even speaks about handling rejection, something that every writer has to face, at some point in their careers.
James´teaching style is relaxed and engaging. I actually had a lot of fun while taking this particular masterclass.
4 Billy Collins Teaches Reading and Writing Poetry MasterClass
A must for fans of poetry or those of you who are interested in trying out this very different way of writing.
I am definitely not a poetry fan. Yet, I really enjoyed this writing course and ended up learning a lot from taking it.
It was refreshing to see Billy getting two of his students involved. Their take on things was a little different from his, which meant that I learned more.
You can see how important it is for a poet to give themselves the freedom to write. Writing poetry to a standard, following a specific set of rules is not necessary.
Potentially, anyone can write poetry. But, if you want to write it well you need to understand the power words have and how to amplify that power.
Billy spends quite a bit of time covering that subject. I, for example, learned how the rhythm of the words can be used to keep your reader engaged. How sound combinations can be used to create a deeper and richer picture.
It was a fascinating course, that made me think about what I write from a very different perspective.
5 Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing as a Journalist
An inspiring course that takes you inside the world of journalism and shows you how to research and write insightful non-fiction pieces.
Malcolm Gladwell´s course gets my vote for the best journalism masterclass. The approach he takes to the art of writing is definitely different, but it produces remarkable results.
He teaches you things like how to use imperfect arguments and direct questions to engage your audience more. Two things that I have started to incorporate into some of the articles I write for other webmasters.
This world-renowned journalist, who worked at the Washington Post for many years, has also written several books. So, during his course, he walks you through the research process, conducting interviews, keeping yourself organized and much more besides.
6 David Baldacci Teaches Mystery and Thriller Writing
A genuine step-by-step writing course, that is ideal for beginners, which will still prove to be useful for more experienced writers.
David is a thriller writer, but the methods he teaches are just as applicable regardless of what you are planning to write. He has taken a very practical, almost pragmatic approach, to creating his writing masterclass.
When you take his course, you will learn how to come up with a winning idea for your first novel. David then takes you through the entire research process and does so in quite a bit of detail. Everything is covered including how to submit your novel and get it published.
But it was his advice about how to make sure that what you write sells and continues to do so, many years down the line that is the most valuable. This creative writing course includes invaluable information that enables you to understand the word of publishing. What David shares with his students makes it far easier for them to make a very good living from writing.
7 Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
Learn from an author who has spent more than 50 years delighting her readers.
There is no doubt that Margaret Atwood knows how to produce an exceptionally good book. She has already had a long and illustrious career.
Her approach is different in some important ways from the one taken by many of the other famous authors who teach on Masterclass.com. She teaches you that every story is made up of a series of building blocks. During her course, Margaret takes you through each block and shows you how to create each one and piece them together in the right way.
This is a really interesting writing masterclass that you can buy here. But if you are not quite sure this is the right creative writing course for you, I suggest that you take a look at my full review, by clicking here.
8 Bob Woodward Teaches Investigative Journalism
This brilliant masterclass is squarely aimed at journalists, but the investigative and research skills Bob shares would serve any writer well.
I enjoyed this masterclass for many reasons, one of which was the fact that it provided me with a window into the world of journalism. During his masterclass, Bob teaches you to step out of your comfort zone. He helped me to appreciate that doing this pushes you to dig deeper, to understand your subject on a whole new level.
But, his most important teaching point was how to uncover the best stories. If your writing requires you to interview people you will find what Bob has to say on the matter to be invaluable. His interview with Trump is still remembered by thousands.
This is a link to my complete Bob Woodward masterclass review. You can buy this Pulitzer-Prize winner´s course by clicking this link.
9 Joyce Carol Oates Teaches The Art of the Short Story Masterclass
Learn from a prolific writer, who has constantly pushed the boundaries and come up with truly unique storylines.
Joyce Carol Oates has already written more than 50 novels, so I was surprised when I realized that her course was all about writing short novels. It was very good. I particularly liked her teaching style and the free workbook that comes with the course is a goldmine.
Joyce teaches her students to explore, to push the boundaries and stretch themselves. She shares some important tips that I have not come across in any of the other courses. For example, how keeping a journal helps to make you a better writer and can double up as a great source of inspiration.
10 RL Stine Teaches Writing Masterclass
The best writing masterclass for new writers. It is also excellent an excellent course for anyone who wants to write children’s fiction.
RL Stine’s writing masterclass is something of a smorgasbord of writing techniques, which is part of the reason it is so interesting. He provides details of how to get inspiration, layout your plot, develop your characters and write your book. But, does so for several different genres including horror novels and children’s books.
This course contains some unusual tips, including some brilliant ones that are designed to enable you to hook your readers from the very first page. His guidance on dialogue and prose has proved to be particularly useful for me.
11 Judy Blume Teaches Writing Masterclass
A great course for anyone who would like to write a book but does not believe they are good enough to do so.
Judy Blume writes fiction for children and young adults. So, if those are your genres you are going to learn a huge amount from here masterclass.
But anyone who wants to write will benefit from taking her masterclass. She is an excellent teacher who genuinely believes that anyone can write a book. All you need to do is to take action, follow her advice and persevere.
Everyone’s life holds some interest, we have all had unique experiences. You just need to do is to harness them and apply yourself.
Best filmmaking masterclass for directors
The fact that so many Oscar-winning directors have created masterclasses still amazes me. I am not a filmmaker, but I just have not been able to resist taking many of the film courses that are available on the platform.
They are all fascinating and extremely interesting. There is something special about learning how one of your favorite movies was created. Or, listening to a director you love telling you about their creative process.
Here are my favorites, ranked in order:
1 Mira Nair Teaches Independent Filmmaking
A filmmaking course that offers a unique take on the art form. Plenty of guidance that is aimed squarely at independent filmmakers, but also deals with big-set filmmaking.
It will come as a bit of a surprise to many of you to learn that I think Mira Nair´s filmmaking masterclass is the best one on the platform. But it most definitely is. This is largely down to her engaging teaching method and the unusual insights that she shares.
She takes an innovative approach to her filmmaking. When Mira has a large task to complete or a difficult problem to solve, she often turns to her film crew. For example, asking them to bring in props. An innovative move that helped her to create a unique look for a huge Indian wedding scene and stay on budget.
How she uses color and music was interesting too. Mira´s course is full of slightly quirky ideas that clearly work. She is very successful and is able to appeal to audiences from numerous countries.
2 Spike Lee Teaches Independent Filmmaking
A delightful masterclass that takes you deep into the psyche and world of Spike Lee, which is also full of practical advice.
I am a big fan of Spike Lee´s films, so when I got my all-access masterclass pass, this was one of the first of the filmmaking courses I took. It did not disappoint. Spike is an excellent teacher. Somehow, he manages to be all things to all people.
He covers everything you need to know in a way that would engage a pure fan like myself as well as a serious filmmaker with years of experience or amateur directors. Spike´s course would likely also appeal to, and help, budding actors too.
I thought that his advice to find a story that resonates with you was sensible. He has done this many times, which is part of the reason he has been so successful.
One of the best things about Spike Lee is the fact that, over the years, he has evolved. There is nothing formulaic about his films. You never quite know what he is going to do next. In his masterclass, he explains how he does this and shows you ways you can also evolve as a filmmaker or other type of creator.
If you are worried about financing your films, do not worry because Spike Lee covers that subject in detail too. As well as things like how to create a storybook and pick your cast.
Any independent filmmaker will benefit greatly from taking Spike Lee’s fascinating masterclass. Just click the link to get the price and buy it.
3 Jodie Foster Teaches Filmmaking
Jodie’s masterclass is best suited to students of filmmaking and will be particularly useful for actors who want to gain a better insight into what directors want from them.
This course was a little more difficult to follow than the others. But it is still an excellent masterclass that looks at the filmmaking process from a slightly different perspective. The fact that Jodie spent the early part of her career as an actor is probably the reason behind this. But that is definitely a plus because it means her course picks up on things that are not in the other filmmaking masterclasses.
I particularly liked the way she takes you through the preparation process. Jodie clearly puts a huge amount of effort into this stage of the filmmaking process. Getting the prep right helps you to stay on track, stick to the budget and get everything done on time. If you are a filmmaker that struggles with any of these things, Jodie’s course is sure to help.
4 Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking
A brilliant course for documentary makers of all levels. Non-fiction writers and university students researching their theses could also greatly benefit from taking this masterclass.
Even if you are not a documentary filmmaker, I guarantee that you will still learn a lot from this masterclass. The research and fact-checking sections are particularly good. Students of any subject will especially benefit from what they learn there.
Every kind of filmmaker will find his advice about creating voice-overs and tapping into the power of music to be invaluable. During his career, Ken Burns has probably used every kind of cinematic device there is to tell and enhance his stories about history and real-life. So, there is a lot anyone can learn from him.
5 David Lynch Teaches Creativity and Film Masterclass
This masterclass is as “off the wall” as David Lynch´s films are and full of information about the art of filmmaking, getting more from your time and being more creative.
If you are short on time, David Lynch´s filmmaking class is a great starting point. It is slightly shorter than the others, but, no less informative.
As you would expect, the focus of this directing masterclass is creativity. David starts by showing you how to create time in your life to let your imagination roam freely. This will provide you with the ideas you need to create interesting films.
Having seen many of David´s films I was kind of expecting his course to be bloated and a bit disorganized. In fact, the opposite is true. David is a fantastic teacher. He has clearly sat down and structured this masterclass very carefully.
It does not exactly walk you through the filmmaking process completely. For example, he does not cover how to finance a film or choose your cast. But he does provide unique advice on things like how to create your sound score, storyboard and deal with failure.
Best acting masterclass
If you love tv and films, as I do, the chance to find out how your favorite actors produce such great performances is hard to resist. I am not an actor, nor do I have any plans to “tread the boards” in the future. But I have taken all of the acting masterclasses and have thoroughly enjoyed them each of them.
So, the task of ranking them was pretty much impossible for me. Fortunately, a friend of mine who regularly works as an extra has also taken all of the courses, so they have helped me with this task.
Here is our list, with the best one at the top of the list:
1 Samuel L. Jackson Teaches Acting
Perfect for character actors and a gem of a masterclass for anyone who is a fan of Samuel L. Jackson´s work.
Samuel starts his course strongly by taking you through the process of creating your character. Everything from getting their physicality right to learning how to speak, move and dress like them is covered.
Later, he takes you through some collaborative working techniques. As well as other practical skills like how to break down a script and grow your acting career.
2 Helen Mirren Teaches Acting
In-depth instruction that covers acting for the stage, TV, and film. A very long masterclass that packs a huge amount in.
Again, I am a big fan of Helen Mirren. I was hooked from the moment I saw her playing Jane Tennison.
To say she is an accomplished actor is an understatement. She started her career with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Helen Mirren is also one of the few actors to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting. That is to say that she has won at least one Academy, Emmy, and Tony Award. Plus, many others.
Her course is excellent. But, she is not a natural teacher. A bit stiff and intense for my taste. However, once you get past that, what she has to say is invaluable. My acting friend re-took her masterclass several times. If it were up to him alone, Helen Mirren´s acting masterclass would have made the top spot. on this list.
An awful lot of actors end up taking on roles that they are not really suited for. Helen explains why this is a mistake and how to avoid making it. She is also a big advocate of all actors playing Shakespeare. During the masterclass, she explains why that is and how to get the most out of the experience of doing so.
The way she uses props and her character’s clothes to make more of an impact is brilliant. Helen´s masterclass is full of unique insights like this. So, it really is worth adding to your list of acting masterclasses to take.
3 Natalie Portman Teaches Acting
If you primarily want to learn how to play real people, Natalie Portman´s masterclass is the best choice.
Natalie Portman is the youngest of the actors that have taken the time to share their experience and skills via the Masterclass.com platform. But, do not let that put you off of taking what is an excellent series of acting classes.
Using several case studies and demos, Natalie takes you through her most important points. This is an excellent way to learn.
Doing this, she goes through learning to act well in a similar way the other actors have. But, in a little less detail. However, when it comes to the subject of playing real people Natalie has the edge over the others. She covers this subject in great detail and does so in an innovative and interesting way.
Best music masterclass for producers and composers
A big chunk of the masterclasses that are available on the platform have been created by musicians, music producers, singers, and composers. They are an excellent source of inspiration, methods and training ideas. Plus, of course, they provide you with a true insiders’ view of how some of the world’s biggest music stars work and live their lives.
Below, are my best masterclasses for fans of all things musical ranked from the best onwards:
1 Danny Elfman Teaches Music for Film
Primarily a music course for film scorers. But one that any musician or composer can learn a huge amount from. Danny´s unique approach makes it a particularly good choice.
Until I took this course, I had virtually no interest in film music. Now, I can´t watch a movie without noticing the difference it makes to my experience. It is an engrossing and interesting subject.
I loved the way Danny walks his students through how to use the music to tell a story and reinforce what the viewer sees. It was also encouraging to learn that he had not become a musician until he was an adult. Yet, there is no doubt that he is a very skilled composer and one you can learn a lot from.
Personally, I found his workflow and time management video to be especially useful. In my review, I share several other things I learned from his masterclass.
You can pick up this intriguing masterclass by clicking this link.
2 Hans Zimmer Teaches Film Scoring
An excellent class for film fans and people who want to learn about the traditional approach to film scoring.
Hans Zimmer is the man behind many of the biggest mainstream movies, including Gladiator and the Pirates of the Caribbean films. His is a more traditional approach than Danny Elfman´s, so you end up learning something quite different.
However, he is also a film scoring pioneer in his own right. He was one of the first to combine electronic music with traditional orchestral arrangements.
He walks you through getting to know the film´s characters and coming up with music that works for each one. The technical skills a film composer needs like scoring to pictures and under dialogue are also well covered.
3 Armin Van Buuren Teaches Dance Music
This lengthy masterclass is something of a tour de force. It is a must for anyone who is serious about producing electronic music, regardless of the genre.
This is one of the longest courses on the masterclass.com platform. It is a deep dive into the subject of creating and producing electronic music.
But Armin goes much further than that. He also covers important subjects like creating your home studio and choosing the right equipment. It is clear that he has tried to think of everything a music producer needs to know and incorporated it into the course.
4 Deadmau5 Teaches Electronic Music Production
Deadmau5 covers performing and djing as well as electronic music production in this technical, yet entertaining, masterclass.
The chance to learn from one of the world´s highest-paid music producers is too good to pass up. During his electronic dance music course, Deadmau5 ably demonstrates that with a bit of time and patience anyone can compose electronic dance music. You do not actually need that much to get started.
I found this to be a very inspiring masterclass. Friends of mine who do produce music both said that it was excellent. The fact that he also took the time to cover subjects like how to get started in the music industry was impressive.
5 Timbaland Teaches Producing and Beatmaking
I am not a fan of beatbox, at all. But, having taken the two electronic music masterclasses and enjoyed them, I figured, why not give this one a go. And I am pleased that I did.
Timbaland´s enthusiasm is infectious. He rambles a little, but, apart from that is a good teacher who is easy to follow. This award-winning artist deftly takes you through subjects like layering beats, chord progression, adding a topline and manipulating vocal samples.
For me, the best part of the course was when he explains how he uses everyday sounds to inspire him. It is amazing what this man can do with a few simple sounds.
Best masterclass for musicians and singers
It is great to see some of the worlds’ biggest and most prolific singers and musicians taking the time to teach others what they know. Being able to learn from your idols and people who have been so successful is priceless.
This is a masterclass category that I would personally like to see grow, in the future. But, for now, here is my take on the best masterclasses for musicians and singers:
1 Christina Aguilera Teaches Singing
Anyone who wants to learn to sing better or perform live needs to take Christina Aguilera´s singing masterclass.
At the time of my writing this page, this is the only singing masterclass that is available on the platform. Hopefully, at some stage, they will add more.
But, if they don´t that will not be a huge problem because Christina covers the subject really well. But, what she does not do is explain how to get started with singing. Her classes are mainly about how to improve your performance, once you have already learned to sing to a reasonable standard.
Our review lists out exactly what you will learn. We also share with you a few of the lessons we have learned while taking her masterclass.
You can buy this superb singing course from masterclass.com.
2 Itzhak Perlman Teaches Violin
A must for any violin player, regardless of the level you play at, you are bound to enjoy this violin masterclass and learn from it.
I loved the way Itzhak Perlman makes sure that anyone can learn from his course. For example, when he goes through the various bow techniques, he includes ones that beginners can use.
He also takes things further by explaining things like how to read violin music and memorize it. Importantly, he points out some of the most common mistakes that players make that can lead to bad playing habits and shows you how to avoid developing them.
3 Tom Morello Teaches Electric Guitar
A remarkably in-depth masterclass that is a mine of information for experienced electric guitar players, but one that is not so advanced that beginners will not benefit from taking it too.
Tom Morello is an excellent teacher. He is an innovative and extremely experienced guitar player, who clearly loves what he does. His enthusiasm for his subject is contagious.
He provides you with examples of how he builds riffs, finger exercises, and blues scales. If you want to create your own tracks this guitar course provides you with details of the right way to go about doing that.
4 Carlos Santana Teaches the Art and Soul of Guitar Masterclass
For guitar players who want to change things up, experiment and learn what their instrument really has to offer.
Unfortunately, Carlos tends to ramble a bit, which, initially makes following what he is trying to teach you a little tricky. But, once you get used to him, you are guaranteed to greatly improve your guitar playing.
One of the most important things you will learn is how to develop your personal playing style. Carlos has clearly been influenced by music from several cultures, which is why he has developed such a unique playing style. In particular, the way he combines rhythm and melodies.
Any fan of Carlos Santana or guitar player will really enjoy this masterclass, which you can buy immediately. Our review is also worth reading for those who are still not 100% sure if this is the course for them.
Best business masterclass
At the time of writing this article, the masterclass team was starting to add more business-related courses to the platform. So, in all likelihood, this section of the list will need to be changed and updated. quite a bit.
However, right now, this is what I think are the best business-related masterclasses. As you will see, I have included those courses that teach skills like leadership that any entrepreneur needs to become successful.
1 Sara Blakely Teaches Self-Made Entrepreneurship
A highly enjoyable masterclass that shows you how to start and grow your own business.
Sara starts her course by explaining her journey and making the bold statement that everyone has at least one idea that can be turned into a million-dollar business. At first, I did not believe her, but, as the course progressed, I realized that she was almost certainly right.
So, I was pleased to see her explain how to capture those ideas and develop them. She then encourages you to go out there and get started. Initially, on a small scale, but she also explains how to quickly switch things up and grow your business organically.
This is one of the best business courses I have seen anywhere, let alone on the masterclass.com. platform If you apply just one of the things Sara teaches you to your life, career or business you will find that this masterclass easily pays for itself.
Any budding entrepreneur just needs to click this link to begin their journey to success. But, if you do want to know more before you buy all you need to do is click here to be taken to my full review.
2 Bob Iger Teaches Business Strategy and Leadership
A Masterclass for anyone who wants to become a more proficient business owner while achieving the best possible work-life balance.
To say that Bob Iger is a successful businessperson is a huge understatement. At the time of his creating this masterclass, he was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Walt Disney Company, one of the world’s biggest firms.
In his masterclass, he reveals how he finds the time and energy to run such a large company. He covers important processes such as how to identify areas of growth, acquire other businesses and create harmony as your business expands.
It is a truly remarkable course, that is structured in a way that means you can apply what you learn regardless of whether you are running a multi-national or are just getting started.
3 Anna Wintour Teaches Creativity and Leadership
Ideal for anyone who is responsible for leading a team, particularly one that needs to be creative.
Anna Wintour has headed up Vogue, since 1983. So, she is well placed to explain how to make sure that your business moves with the times and continues to stay relevant.
Her masterclass focuses on how to build and lead a strong team that enables your business to grow and evolve. She shares how to use process mapping to keep track of what is going on and keep things moving forward.
This link will take you to the masterclass site, so you can check out the price and treat yourself to this unusual, but interesting, course. Our review will tell you everything you need to know about this brilliant masterclass.
4 Doris Kearns Goodwin Teaches U.S. Presidential History and Leadership
A masterclass that shares how America’s greatest presidents lived their lives and became the great leaders they were.
When I sat down to take this masterclass, I was expecting to enjoy a pure history lesson, with a few leadership tips thrown in. So, I was surprised, but delighted, to discover that it is really the other way around.
In her masterclass, Doris explains some of the ways of working and living that made America´s greatest presidents like JFK, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, the leaders they were.
She demonstrates how they formed strong partnerships, worked with their enemies in times of crisis and built teams that they could lean on. Doris shows her students the different ways they communicated with voters, their team, other leaders and the world at large. It was particularly interesting to see how Lincoln did this.
In the process, she provides a fascinating insight into the lives of these men and their families. It was not my favorite masterclass, but I still enjoyed it and came away feeling that I had learned something.
Best sports masterclass
The world of sport is an intriguing one, but you rarely get to go behind the scenes and hear directly from the athletes that achieve so much. You do with the sports masterclass.
It is great to be able to sit down for a few hours and listen to great sportspeople like Serena Williams telling you how they have achieved so much. Being able to listen to them for several hours in almost feels like a face-to-face setting is inspiring and informative.
It is far more revealing than watching a 30-minute interview or an hour-long documentary is. They are free to say what they want, elaborate on things and really share the secret of their success.
As I discovered, each athlete takes an approach that is unique to them. Their journeys to greatness are all different and all the more interesting because of that.
Here is my take on which of the sports masterclasses are the best:
1 Simone Biles Teaches Gymnastics Fundamentals
The perfect masterclass for budding gymnasts and their parents. A great insight into what it takes to make it in this highly competitive sporting field.
When you take this masterclass, you soon realize the value of keeping your life in balance, staying organized, being focused and never giving up. Simone is still very young, but she has gone through a lot to get to where she is today. So, the lessons she shares have been learned as a result of her hard work and perseverance.
However, this is primarily a gymnastics masterclass. There is step-by-step instruction available for everything from the foundation moves to the advanced ones Simone is so good at. She covers the uneven bars, floor work, the beam, and the vault.
Simone Biles inspiring masterclass can be bought and enjoyed immediately when you click here. If you would like a few more details about what is included in her course, reading our review will be helpful.
2 Daniel Negreanu Teaches Poker
This poker masterclass is great for players who have been playing for a while and are ready to try a few new approaches.
Daniel´s course is a great way to sharpen up your mental game. He demonstrates several strategies you can use to do this.
This course is also great for increasing the return on your investment. Daniel explains how to invest in yourself to build the right skills to become the best possible player.
3 Phil Ivey Teaches Poker Strategy
Phil Ivey´s poker course is easy to follow. It is beginner-friendly but also offers some great tips for seasoned players.
Phil Ivey is a legendary cross-over player. So if that is what you are interested in, this is a great masterclass for you. The strategies he shares will help you regardless of whether you are planning to play online, in tournaments, live or in big cash games.
He takes you through difficult concepts in a super-fast, yet thorough way. This includes preflop strategies, judging bet sizes, elite bluffing strategies and understanding the mental game.
4 Misty Copeland teaches ballet technique and artistry
A beautiful masterclass that is ideal for ballet dancers of any level. Yet, it is not so complicated that fans of the art form cannot enjoy taking it.
I was kind of surprised to see Masterclass.com categorize this ballet technique course as sport-related. However, I felt OK about it when Misty said that it frustrated her that ballet dancers were not recognized as being athletes as well as artists. As she pointed out, they train every bit as hard and are as fit and strong as an athlete. So, in honor of that, I have decided to rank her course in the sports section too.
For someone who has never tried ballet, this course was something of an eye-opener. There is an awful lot more involved in this art form than I realized.
Misty takes you through it all. She starts by showing you how she performs the main ballet movements and warms up. As you will see, when you take her course, her approach is a little different.
The same is true of how she approaches working with choreographers and interpreting the story. As someone who enjoys watching ballet, I found this part of the course to be very interesting. You can read more about what I thought of the entire course by clicking here.
I believe that this masterclass would be really good for anyone who is interested in ballet. It would also make a great present for a young dancer. If you want to, you can buy it straight away by clicking this link.
Best photography masterclass
Photography is a fantastic pastime and one that has the potential to be turned into a full-time profession. So, when I realized that masterclass.com offered several photography courses, I decided to take them and find out which one was the best.
Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography
A photography masterclass that is designed to drive photographers of all levels to be more innovative and creative.
I always think of Annie as being a portrait photographer. But, once I had taken the course, I realized that she is much more than that. She is able to tell a story with just one photograph. This is a special skill that is hard to recreate. But, one that you can learn with Annie´s help.
Best masterclass for entertainers
The world of entertainment is a fascinating one, so I was pleased to see that the subject is covered by masterclass.com. To date, I have only taken a few of them. But, as you can see below, there is one that really stands out from the rest.
Penn & Teller Teach the Art of Magic
An entertaining masterclass that any fan or magic or magician is bound to enjoy.
This intriguing course is great fun. It provides you with an insider´s view of the world of magic. A world that has been, until recently, completely closed, but is now opening up.
Penn & Teller teach you how to perform eight iconic magic tricks and the skill of misdirection. They also help you to understand how useful performance skills can be in your everyday life.
I really enjoyed learning the card tricks. They are a great way to break the ice at social gatherings and I found that learning them helped me to become more focused and learn more effectively.
Best beauty, fashion and lifestyle masterclass
At the time of my writing this article, masterclass.com had only added one course to their lifestyle section – Bobbi Brown´s makeup masterclass. It was very good and I am expecting there to be more lifestyle masterclasses added as 2020 progresses. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a bit about it.
The best beauty and makeup masterclass by Bobbi Brown
A fantastic makeup and beauty masterclass that literally any woman or beautician could benefit from taking. Comprehensive without being too complicated or long.
For more than 20 years, Bobbi Brown has been helping women to enhance their natural beauty, using makeup. The best thing about her masterclass is that it meets the needs of all women.
She shares techniques that can be adapted to work for every age and skin tone. Bobbi explains how to deal with issues that many women have struggled to handle well when using old school makeup application techniques.
I loved the fact that Bobbi starts with the basics.
Even someone who has never used makeup before will be able to produce great results by following her advice. Her course starts by explaining how to identify your skin type, face shape, and undertone. She also shows you how to put together the makeup you need and adapt the way you make yourself up to fit in with what you are planning to do that day.
As you will be able to see from my full review, I really liked this masterclass. Enough to be able to recommend that you go straight to the site and buy it. I promise you that it will be money well spent. In fact, the chances are you will end up saving money by taking this masterclass. It will definitely stop you from buying products that are not suitable for you. Or ones that you will rarely if ever, use.
Which masterclasses are best overall?
If you just want to learn and do not really mind what the subject matter is, these are the three courses I recommend that you get started with. They are the ones that I found to be the most interesting, entertaining or inspiring.
- Sara Blakely´s Self-Made Entrepreneur Masterclass – the most inspiring and practical of all of the courses I have taken, so far. Sara takes a fun approach and shares strategies that anyone can apply and use regardless of what type of business you run or are planning to set up.
- Mira Nair’s Independent Filmmaking Masterclass – I appreciate that this is an unusual choice. But, Mira packs a huge amount into her masterclass and provides plenty of examples to back up what she is teaching. So, I found her course easy to follow, entertaining and informative. Her slightly different approach was very refreshing.
- Aaron Franklin´s Texas-Style BBQ – Aaron´s attention to detail is great. He really does cover everything you need to know. His workbook is excellent and the way everything was filmed means that you can clearly see exactly what he is doing. It has encouraged me to barbecue more frequently.
Why everyone should treat themselves to a few masterclass.com courses
I think you can tell I am a big fan of masterclass.com. My all-access pass has served to broaden my mind, teach me new skills and pushed me to step out of my comfort zone a bit. I have also ended up reading more and I swear that sitting down to watch these courses has improved my attention span too.
Best of all, I have had fun.
There is no doubt that I have benefitted greatly from taking these masterclasses and I think you will too.