The 9 Best Masterclasses to Take in 2018

Learning a new skill or hobby is easier than you think

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Looking to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill? You might want to check out MasterClass.com and learn from the ultimate experts in a given field, be it cooking, electronic music production, storytelling, comedy, jazz, TV writing and more. To help kickstart your new pastime, we’ve gathered a list of the best MasterClasses to take this year from world-renowned chefs (we're looking at you, Gordon Ramsay), screenwriters (Aaron Sorkin), authors (James Patterson), musicians (Herbie Hancock), moguls, and comedians (Steve Martin) alike. So read on to see what piques your interest, get your creative juices flowing, get inspired and perfect your craft.

Best for Learning Cooking: Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay
Courtesy of Masterclass

The 21st highest-earning celebrity in the world and the true MasterChef himself, Gordon Ramsay, has 16 Michelin stars under his belt and owns dozens of restaurants. And you can find — well, bake — a little piece of the pie yourself with Ramsay’s Masterclass. In addition to dish-specific masterclasses taught by executive chefs at Ramsay’s restaurants around the world, you can get 20 comprehensive cooking lessons from Ramsay himself online at MasterClass.

Class topics include optimal kitchen design and layout, cooking basics, knife skills, finding ideal ingredients and dishes like Beef Wellington, lobster ravioli, and poached egg and mushrooms on brioche. In addition to video lessons headed by Ramsay, purchasing the class ($90 with a 30-day money-back guarantee) also gets you access to a downloadable workbook with recipes and recaps and feedback from Ramsay himself (for select students). 

Best for Learning Music Production: Deadmau5

Deadmau5
Courtesy of Masterclass

Before composer, electronic music producer, and DJ deadmau5 launched his legendary music career, he was Joel Thomas Zimmerman from Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada. Now, he’s bringing the chops that got him nominated for six Grammys into your home to teach you about electronic music production at Masterclass.com. The $90 Masterclass includes 23 lessons and six hours of instruction led by deadmau5 himself, as well as a downloadable class workbook. You can take the classes anywhere on demand, with bonus materials available on iPhone and iPad.

This in-depth guide to electronic music production includes classes on the right gear to buy — breaking down what you really need and what you don’t — as well as developing melodic structures and turning them into arrangements. And if you want to know more all about the power of synthesis, look no further: Several classes are devoted to the synthesizer, in addition to remixes, mixing and mastering.

Best for Learning Film Scoring: Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer
Courtesy of Masterclass

Hans Zimmer has written music for over 150 films, including The Lion King, The Pirates of the Caribbean and The Dark Knight Trilogy. He’s also won four Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, two Golden Globes and three BRIT Awards. In his MasterClass, Zimmer will show you the ropes when it comes to film scoring.

Zimmer’s class, which unfolds across 31 video lessons, focuses heavily on the process of collaboration since it’s essential to successful musical composition for a film. He delves into working with film directors for three lessons and also devotes three lessons to the process of working with and leading musicians. He also explores tempo, theme and character, as well as how to create your own unique sound palettes — something for which he’s particularly known.

Best for Learning Screenwriting: Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin
Courtesy of Masterclass

Aaron Sorkin’s career is as varied and eclectic as they come. He’s written Broadway plays and directed television, but he’s best known for writing films and dramas like A Few Good Men, The Social Network (for which he won an Oscar) and The West Wing. His screenwriting MasterClass is one of the best and most highly rated around, and for good reason: His 35 video lessons serve as a comprehensive guide to the craft and business of writing for film and television.

Sorkin starts off his MasterClass by going over the basics of storytelling: that is, intention and obstacles. Next, he covers developing solid characters, selecting story ideas from brainstorming sessions and conducting effective research. Sorkin’s MasterClass is also unique in its focus on group workshops. Sorkin leads a series of workshops as he reviews sample scripts from students, and later, heads up a West Wing Writers’ Room to show detailed examples of effective television rewrites and edits. He closes the class with two workshops on crafting and delivering solid TV pitches, so you can get out there and sell your story to Hollywood execs.

Best for Learning TV Writing: Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes
Courtesy of Masterclass 

Ever heard of a little show called Grey’s Anatomy? How about Scandal? Renowned showrunner Shonda Rhimes will show you how to craft your own perfect pitch, write your pilot, and launch your own legendary television career in her MasterClass, “Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television.”

In over six hours of instruction, Rhimes breaks down the essentials of storytelling, the fundamentals of character creation, script structure and dialogue, using case studies from episodes of her famous shows. On the more career-oriented side, she’ll also teach you to pitch your pilot once it’s polished and how to break into the competitive television industry.

Rhimes’ MasterClass also gives you access to top-notch exclusive content from her award-winning playbook. If you’re itching to read original pilot scripts and pitch notes from Rhimes’ best-known series, look no further.

Best for Learning Writing: James Patterson

James Patterson
Courtesy of Masterclass

If you’ve ever thought of writing a book, you can’t go wrong with instruction from bestselling author James Patterson. Patterson’s books have sold over 300 million copies, and he’s been named one of the highest-paid authors in the world by Forbes for multiple consecutive years. He also wrote 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, but hey, who’s counting?

In 22 video lessons through his MasterClass, Patterson will guide you towards your own writing success with exclusive instruction and detailed exercises. This MasterClass delves into both the broadest aspects of becoming a published author — from developing solid writing habits and routines to recognizing truly great ideas — to the nitty-gritty of outlining plots and getting down to actually penning your novel. He also dives into the business side of things, including selling your novel to Hollywood, choosing book titles and covers, as well as marketing yourself. And don’t forget your reading assignments and homework…they’ll get you ever closer to success.

Best for Learning Comedy: Steve Martin

Steve Martin
Courtesy of MasterClass

Actor/comedian/writer/producer Steve Martin has won an Emmy, a Grammy and American Comedy Awards, and now he’s on MasterClass to teach you to work towards your own award-winning future. Five decades of experience in comedy have taught him a lot, and he shares the best of what he knows about making audiences laugh in 25 lessons. He’ll even give feedback to select students when they upload videos of their classwork.

The lessons in this on-demand $90 MasterClass include finding your comedic voice, developing a persona, crafting jokes and bits and the best ways to practice. He’ll also teach you to edit your acts, deal with stage fright and manage your burgeoning career.

Best for Learning Filmmaking: Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog
Courtesy of MasterClass

German filmmaker Werner Herzog is a true cinematic giant and is recognized as one of the leaders of New German Cinema. He’s a critical darling with a filmography as long as the dictionary and was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009. In his MasterClass, he’s your filmmaking instructor — and your personal guide to film analysis.​

Whether you’re interested in cultural criticism, documentary filmmaking or psychology, Herzog has you covered. He dives deep into the ethics and logistics of investigative filmmaking, helping you along as you cover difficult subjects and research complex issues. And Herzog, as always, covers a broad array of subjects, discussing the basics of cinematography alongside headier topics like film analysis and the philosophy of leadership. Students especially appreciate Herzog’s practical advice on working with actors, financing your films and launching a career in the movies.

Best for Learning Jazz: Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock
Courtesy of Masterclass

Iconic jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock began his career with Donald Byrd and the Miles Davis Quintet, and now he’s here to teach you all about the essentials of jazz in a MasterClass. Twenty-five video lessons cover improvisation, jazz basics, piano exercises, composition, rhythm and life as a working composer. He’ll also teach you his personalized techniques of sight reading and “learning by listening,” Hancock’s own approach to learning and performing music. In several lessons, he also breaks down specific compositions to help students learn about structure and rhythm in real time.

The bonus materials that come with Hancock’s MasterClass are especially notable: With your $90 purchase, you’ll get 10 original piano transcription by Hancock himself, including five exclusive solo performances.