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Alicia Keys MasterClass Review: Songwriting and Producing

Do you want to learn from one of the world’s most popular songwriters? Check out our honest review of Alicia Keys’ MasterClass and find out whether it’s worth taking.

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Alicia Keys Teaches Songwriting and Producing: Our Verdict (2024)


4.4 / 5

Alicia Keys’ MasterClass provides an inspiring look at the process of songwriting and producing. Alicia Keys breaks down her approach and reveals what helps her make more authentic, memorable music. The course is ideal for Alicia Keys fans as well as anyone who wants to learn more about the singer’s songwriting process.


  • Great teacher
  • Insightful lessons
  • Encouraging atmosphere


  • Lack of specific knowledge

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Some of Alicia Keys’ early songs played an important role in the evolution of my music taste. Although I don’t listen to her music as much as I used to, I was still curious to discover more about her songwriting process.

Alicia is, after all, one of the most popular and widely acclaimed artists of our time. Each of her songs has something honest and meaningful in it, so it’s no wonder that millions of people around the world find them relatable. 

But being a fan of Alicia Keys’ music at some point in my life wasn’t the only reason I decided to take this course.

As a writer, I was intrigued to hear what Alicia has to say about creativity and her writing techniques. Even though it’s a different type of writing, I was hoping to apply some of her advice to my own process.

So, did Alicia Keys’ course meet my expectations, and who would I recommend it to?

Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

What is the Alicia Keys MasterClass?

Alicia Keys teaches Songwriting and Producing” is an online course offered by MasterClass, a subscription-based platform known for well-produced video lessons taught by experts in the field. 

Alicia Keys is an award-winning singer and songwriter known for her soaring ballads, unforgettable radio anthems, and catchy tunes filled with social commentary.

In her MasterClass, she breaks down her songwriting process and teaches how to write music that reflects your beliefs. She also talks about the instruments, sounds, and tools she uses to produce music.

The course consists of 19 lessons with a duration of 3 hours and 22 minutes.

Alicia Keys, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and musician
Alicia Keys

Who is Alicia Keys?

Alicia Augello Cook, known professionally as Alicia Keys, is an American singer and songwriter.

A classically trained pianist, she started composing songs when she was 12 and signed her first contract at the age of 15. Her debut album, Songs in A Minor, became a commercial and critical success and went platinum five times over.

She released many successful albums and hit singles since then. Some of her biggest hits to date include Fallin, No One, Girl On Fire, and Superwoman.

Alicia Keys’ music could be described as a blend of soul, pop, hip-hop, jazz, and classical music. She often combines classical and modern elements, creating a unique sound that keeps evolving from album to album.

Who is Alicia Keys’ MasterClass for?

First of all, this MasterClass is ideal for fans of Alicia Keys. To describe her process and methods, Alicia gives many examples from her work. She explains how she came up with some of her lyrics and melodies, and she talks about her background and influences.

In a way, this is a MasterClass in Alicia Keys’ process of making music. It’s not as general and practical as some other similar MasterClasses.

Nevertheless, Alicia’s songwriting tips could be useful to any aspiring songwriter. Therefore, you can benefit from this course even if you’re not an admirer of Alicia Keys’ work.

So, some of the people who would benefit the most from this MasterClass include:

  • Alicia Keys’ fans
  • Aspiring singers, songwriters, and producers
  • Anyone interested in entering the music industry

What does Alicia Keys’ MasterClass cover?

This MasterClass is primarily focused on Alicia Keys’ songwriting process. The acclaimed songwriter talks about finding ideas, writing lyrics and melodies, and working in the industry.

She also reveals what shaped her as an artist and explains what it takes to be a successful songwriter.

Most of the lessons are rather subjective, but she also provides tips and advice that can be applicable to any songwriting process. I wish there were more practical tips and specific guidelines, though.

Either way, the course is a nice blend of Alicia’s anecdotes, songwriting walk-throughs, and inspiring stories.

In terms of content, here is what you can expect from each lesson:

  • Lesson 1 is the introductory lesson, where Alicia introduces herself and the course.
  • Lesson 2 is dedicated to Alicia’s musical foundation and influences.
  • Lessons 3-7 cover Alicia’s songwriting process. She talks about melody and lyrics, how to bring all the elements together, and the importance of connecting to the world around you and creating with empathy.
  • Lessons 8-14 cover Alicia’s producing process, from vocal arrangements and instruments to the tools and effects she uses to create certain sounds.
  • Lessons 15-16 tackle creative collaboration and the issue of discrepancies in the music industry for women.
  • Lesson 17 contains the songwriting workshop where Alicia offers advice to a young artist from her music organization, She Is the Music.
  • Lesson 18 is about power and purpose. Alicia shares her philosophy of setting boundaries and listening to your body and intuition.
  • Lesson 19 is the final lesson, where Alicia shares her parting words and advice for young songwriters.

My favorite lessons from Alicia Keys’ MasterClass

I generally enjoyed Alicia’s class. Her lessons are fun, inspiring, and easy to follow.

Here are some of the lessons I particularly liked.

Alicia’s musical foundation and influences

Alicia Keys sharing how her teacher's influence inspired her to write songs
Alicia Keys explaining how her teacher inspired her to write songs

It’s always interesting to hear how acclaimed singers and songwriters shaped their music taste, expression, and sound.

For Alicia Keys, some of the most important figures include her teacher and her mother. She also mentions classical musical influences and composers such as Chopin, Satie, and Bach.

Alicia, the songwriter

Alicia Keys discussing how she transformed journaling into the art of songwriting
Alicia turned journaling into songwriting

For Alicia Keys, journaling was a way of discovering how to express herself, and journaling eventually turned into songwriting.

In this insightful lesson, Alicia also explains how to draw from your life to create. Songwriting is obviously a personal process, and everyone can look at their experiences to find something to write about.

The anatomy of an anthem

When a song becomes an anthem, Alicia Keys can discern why it resonates so deeply
When the song becomes an anthem, Alicia can figure out why is that so

Before the song becomes an anthem (that happened with No One, for example), Alicia doesn’t want to claim anything. She can believe in the song and make it as powerful and memorable as it can be, but she doesn’t simply decide to write an anthem.

However, once the song becomes an anthem, Alicia can look at all the elements that helped her create such a powerful and recognizable song. 

How much does the MasterClass cost?

MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, so it’s not possible to purchase courses individually. If you want to take this MasterClass, you have to become a subscriber.

The standard annual plan has been renamed "Plus" and is available at $120 a year (which makes it $10 per month, billed annually), and now provides access to all MasterClass courses on two devices instead of one. The Premium plan, providing access for up to six devices costs $240 per year.

A MasterClass subscription gives you unlimited access to a catalog of 200+ classes, so if you want to take multiple classes throughout the year, the subscription is definitely worth it, and there are pleny of interesting courses on related topics to explore.

Also, the platform offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.

Note that the "Standard" membership, priced at $72 per year, only gives you access to their short-form learning content – none of their full MasterClasses are included.

What I liked about Alicia Keys’ MasterClass

After taking Alicia Keys’ course, I felt inspired and energetic. There is something about her attitude that makes you want to use your potential to write, create, and express yourself…

I think Alicia’s authentic energy and enthusiasm are the best thing about this course. She is able to express herself through her music as well as through words, so she explains everything in a very understandable way.

Furthermore, she encourages her learners to discover their own voice and sound. “You’re the only one that got what you got,” she says. And that’s true – if you want to make music, you need to find your own process.

In other words, I think anyone who is interested in making music would benefit from the course.

And here are some of the main reasons why I would recommend it to aspiring songwriters and fellow creatives.

Great teacher

As I mentioned before, I think Alicia is a great teacher. She is positive, inspiring, and down-to-earth, and she is very sure of her art and her process.

“It’s gonna be fun,” she promises at the beginning of the course. And I must say, she kept her promise. Lessons are fast-paced, versatile, and engaging, and they kept me focused and interested the whole time.

Insightful lessons

Alicia walked me through her songwriting and producing process. Although her guidelines weren’t always clear, and she kept including her personal stories and anecdotes, I think the lessons were very insightful.

It was fascinating to get a glimpse at Alicia Keys’ thought process and learn more about her ideas, influences, and methods.


Throughout the course, Alicia kept encouraging her learners to create. This way, she managed to create a positive, comfortable, and inspiring learning environment.

Drawbacks of Alicia Keys’ MasterClass

Although I enjoyed Alicia Keys’ MasterClass, there are several things that are a potential disadvantage for some people.

Lack of specific knowledge

If you’re an aspiring songwriter, you probably want to delve deeper into songwriting tools, steps, and techniques and learn how to turn your ideas into music. However, this course doesn’t offer in-depth knowledge regarding writing songs and making music.

Alicia is a great teacher, but she does speak about her experiences a lot. The parts where she introduces her instruments and equipment are cool, but she doesn’t provide specific tips or explanations that can actually help you write a song from start to finish.

While it’s great to learn more about her creative process, it would be better if she broke it down in a slightly different way that would make this course even more useful.

Review conclusion: Is Alicia Keys’ MasterClass worth it?

All in all, I think Alicia Keys’ MasterClass is worth taking. It’s dynamic, inspiring, and entertaining.

Alicia Keys is a great teacher, very friendly, honest, and inspiring. She is not hesitant about sharing her secrets and revealing her music-making tools and techniques.

However, the course is heavily focused on her process, which can make it a bit too subjective.

Nevertheless, Alicia’s MasterClass has plenty to offer. And, if its purpose is to encourage young songwriters to reach out for their dreams, I think it definitely managed to achieve its goals.