Back in April, my friend Patrick Madigan kindly shared his buy-one-get-one annual subscription to MasterClass with me. At the time, my social media feed was rife with ads for MasterClass, especially the one with David Sedaris who is one of my favorite authors.
(Isn’t it creepy sometimes to see how well your phone knows you?)
But when it comes to digital subscriptions, I don’t have a very good track record. I lose interest super quickly and then there goes my money. So in all honesty, if it wasn’t for Patrick, I am pretty sure I would still be ogling David Sedaris from afar in my social media feed.
Now that I have been a diligent student for a couple of months however, I wanted to share my thoughts on whether it is worth it to get a MasterClass subscription? Especially if like me you are interested in becoming a better writer, and in all things creative.
Things that I like about MasterClass:
- Full access to all 9 categories: Before I actually logged into my account, I had assumed incorrectly that my access would be somehow limited to a topic. But that’s not the case. I love that I can pick and choose anything I want from all of the 9 categories which include – Business, Politics & Society – Culinary Arts – Design, Photography & Fashion – Film & TV – Lifestyle – Music & Entertainment – Science & Technology – Sports & Games – Writing. Devang and I have enjoyed learning about wine, cocktail making, and gardening because of it. It’s nice to be able to pick a class and watch it together. And given that we are renovating our home, there is an interior design class I am eyeing too for when I find the time.
- Great variety of experts: At a glance, every category seems to have an amazing variety of experts. For instance, in Sports & Games there is also ballet techniques & artistry by Misty Copeland in addition to basketball by Stephen Curry and tennis by Serena Williams. In Business, Politics & Society, there is Anna Wintour of Vogue teaching leadership skills. In Music & Entertainment, there is Penn & Teller who teach the art of magic (I can’t wait to watch this with my kids). Especially in Writing, which is the category I have most explored, I love that there are authors from a variety of genres. The advice I got from David Sedaris is very different than Malcolm Gladwell who is very different than Joyce Carol Oates, who is different still than R. L. Stine. I am learning so SO much from all of them! I love it!
- Lesson notes and workbooks: Many of the classes (but not all) have a companion workbook which depending on the topic includes prompts on how you can improve your skills. Again, going back to Writing, I have really good assignments to help test new strategies and get comfortable with a concept.
- It’s good company: I usually turn on MasterClass on my phone (with headphones) while I am doing chores in the morning. Unloading dishwasher, making beds, laundry, mixing my compost pile, etc. So basically for about 45-minutes I am in this zone where my hands are doing the automated tasks while my brain is super engaged in the content.
Things that don’t work for me about MasterClass:
- Too much of a good thing: MasterClass is addictive. It is easy to get caught in the loop of what can I watch next. I had to take a break for a few days when I realized that all I was doing was listening to authors instead of doing any actual writing. If your goal is to learn something just for the sake of knowing, then it’s fine. But if you want to spend more time doing, you’ll have make a very strong effort to cut the cord from it for a few days while you practiced the new things.
- Uses the internet: Unless there is a trick that I haven’t figured out, you need the internet in order to be watch a MasterClass on your phone or your laptop/desktop. This is fine for times when I am at home, but I wish there was a way to download the content like an audio book so that I could listen/watch even when there is no internet. Also, especially for Writing where I don’t particularly have to look at the screen with an author sitting on a chair and talking, I wish there was a way to listen without having to keep the screen on, on my phone. There are many times when I have accidently skipped chapters because the phone is on in my back pocket, as I listen.
How to decide whether or not to get a subscription?
- Browse at the Categories and see if the list of experts excites you.
- Watch class trailers to see if you like the pace/style of this way of learning.
- Check your schedule and make sure you can spare time to not only watch but also do what you learned. This might mean giving up on some Netflix time.
So there’s my two cents on the topic. In these two months, I have thoroughly enjoyed my subscription and I plan to renew after the year ends if I haven’t exhausted their catalog of classes. I have learned A LOT about writing well that I did not know before. In addition, I have picked up a deeper understanding of other topics that interest me too.
The current MasterClass deal is for $15 monthly for an annual subscription. That’s a total of $180 for the year. Incase you don’t have people like Patrick in your life to give it to you for free, I still think $180 is a sweet deal.
No one at MasterClass knows I exist or care for what I have to say. This is my unsolicited opinion which I thought might be helpful for those of you who are on the fence about making a choice. Hope this was helpful, and please don’t forget to tell me how you are enjoying (or not) your classes if you are already a member. Salut!
Typer-writer Photo Credit: Florian Klauer via Unsplash