To be completely honest, I wanted to take this course because I’m a big fan of Star Trek and LeVar Burton. In this course, Geordi LaForge, sorry, LeVar Burton promises to teach you the art of storytelling. Joking aside, the course really seemed like a good deal – concise, useful, and inspiring.
As an experienced storyteller and skillful, passionate actor, LeVar Burton is a perfect instructor for this course. Plus, the focus is on the development of very useful skills– good communication and public speaking skills can only be beneficial in everyday life.
But did I find this MasterClass as useful and inspiring as I thought it would be?
I’ll answer this question in the review, and I’ll also guide you through the content, pros and cons, the target audience, and other relevant factors that might help you determine whether this is the type of online course you’re looking for.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
What is LeVar Burton's MasterClass?
LeVar Burton is a famous actor, producer, director, and television host, best known for his appearance in the Star Trek franchise. Importantly, he is a masterful storyteller – for which this MasterClass is proof.
In his course, LeVar Burton talks about the power of storytelling and the different purposes a story can have. He emphasizes the importance of awareness, self-knowledge, energy, active listening, and being in the moment. According to LeVar, all of these things can make you a more empathetic and authentic storyteller. And that is precisely what he is trying to achieve with this course – to help you find a way to deliver your message and communicate with others more effectively and authentically.
The course features 13 lessons with a duration of 2 hours and 30 minutes in total. Despite the relatively short duration of the course, LeVar manages to deliver his message and share useful guidelines and tips that can bring more depth, quality, and awareness to anyone’s everyday life communication.
Who is LeVar Burton?
LeVar Burton is an American actor, director, producer, television host, and storyteller. He made his acting debut in 1977 in a TV miniseries adaptation of Alex Haley’s novel Roots. As he explains in his MasterClass, the miniseries and the role of Kunta Kinte gave LeVar a foundation to be a social activist.
Apart from Roots, he is also widely known for his portrayal of Commander Geordi LaForge in the sci-fi series Star Trek: The Next Generation. He also became a producer and writer of Star Trek. In addition, he was host of the PBS Kids educational television series Reading Rainbow for more than 23 years.
For his work, LeVar received 12 Daytime Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award. He also won the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for his narration of the book The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.
LeVar Burton is a versatile artist, for sure, and he is able to perform all of these different roles thanks to his storytelling skills. He is a very knowledgeable, empathetic, and self-aware individual, which makes him an ideal instructor for a storytelling course.
What is the target audience for LeVar Burton's MasterClass?
In his MasterClass, LeVar Burton covers topics related to storytelling, public speaking, and communication. And since communication skills can be beneficial to almost any line of work – as well as our personal lives – it can be hard to tell what the target audience for this class might be.
In other words, I believe this MasterClass can benefit people regardless of their background, age, and career. We are all storytellers on a daily basis – and learning how to communicate our ideas effectively can certainly make us more confident and strengthen our personal and professional relationships.
However, people who are faced with public speaking more frequently probably benefit from this course the most. Also, the course is great for writers, artists, podcasters, narrators, and storytellers of all kinds.
Finally, let’s not forget about the admirers of LeVar Burton’s work who want to take a glimpse at the course out of pure curiosity. They might be surprised the most.
To sum things up, here are some of the people who might benefit from this course:
- Writers and storytellers
- Public speakers
- People who want to improve their communication skills
- Admirers of LeVar Burton’s work
What does LeVar Burton's MasterClass cover?
At the beginning of the course, LeVar Burton makes a brief introduction and explains what telling stories means to him. In the very beginning, LeVar sets the tone of the course –it’s easy to tell that the course is going to be inspiring and insightful.
Apart from talking about storytelling from an emotional and almost spiritual point of view, he also gives very specific guidelines. For instance, he shares tips on how to deal with nervousness during public speaking and talks about techniques and tools you can use to become a better communicator.
The course also includes several case studies that allow learners to take a glimpse at LeVar’s approach to specific roles and activities.
All in all, here is what you can expect if you decide to take this MasterClass:
- Lesson 1 introduces you to your instructor, who briefly explains who he is and why he believes in the power of storytelling.
- Lesson 2 is based on authentic storytelling. LeVar talks about the importance of self-knowledge and the different purposes a story can have.
- Lesson 3 focuses on the ways you can engage and connect with your audience.
- Lesson 4 is a case study where LeVar talks about his experience on the set of Roots and how that changed him and showed him the true power of storytelling.
- Lessons 5-7 are about the significance and legacy of oral storytelling and the role of imagination in our lives. LeVar also reads an excerpt from his children’s book and shares techniques for connecting with young audiences.
- Lessons 8-9 focus on warm-up techniques and exercises that help LeVar prepare for a performance. He also demonstrates specific techniques to help you communicate with an adult audience.
- Lessons 10-11 are about impactful communication and effective audio storytelling.
- Lessons 12-13 revolve around the importance of integrity and authenticity in storytelling, LeVar’s biggest inspirations, and the way stories can help you connect and empathize with others.
My favorite lessons from LeVar Burton’s MasterClass
“LeVar Burton teaches the Power of Storytelling” covers many techniques and tools you can use to improve your communication, boost your confidence, and enhance your empathy. I found the course rather helpful, and LeVar’s lessons got me thinking about my own way of delivering a message and communicating with others.
Here are some of my top lessons from the course:
At the beginning of the course, LeVar talks about authenticity in storytelling. He claims that as a storyteller, it is essential to know oneself, and you should allow your personal experience to become a part of your storytelling.
Case Study: Roots
In this case study lesson, LeVar talks about his role as Kunta Kinte in the American miniseries Roots. The series marked an important moment in American TV history, helping to show the world the human cost of slavery.
This was also a life-changing experience for LeVar Burton as it helped him figure out what kind of message he wanted to convey with his acting and activism. Through his personal story, he also shows the significance of storytelling, improvisation, and the ability to be alive in the present moment.
Although he has a ton of experience, LeVar admits he is nervous every time he speaks in public. However, he has developed the ability to not allow his fear to paralyze him into non-action. In this dynamic lesson, he breaks down his techniques, including conscious breathing and movement.
How much does LeVar Burton's MasterClass cost?
MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, and there’s no possibility to purchase courses individually. So, if you want to take LeVar Burton’s course, you have to subscribe to MasterClass.
The annual subscription to Masterclass costs $120 per year (down from the previous $180) or $10 per month. With the MasterClass subscription, you gain unlimited access to a catalog of 180+ classes.
If you want to take multiple classes, a MasterClass subscription is certainly worth it. Thanks to their extensive catalog, you’ll surely find something that interests you. But in case you don’t, a single MasterClass ends up being somewhat pricy.
Also the platform also offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with the platform and your learning experience, you can request a full refund.
What I liked most about LeVar Burton’s MasterClass
To make things clear, I am not a public speaker or podcaster – but my day-to-day work does require conveying knowledge, sharing information, and delivering a message through the written word. That said, I found this class very useful, and I’ll surely remember LeVar’s tips next time I need to communicate an idea.
Plus, the course is short, concise, and well-structured. The videos are, as always for MasterClasses, filmed with top quality, so you can enjoy the aesthetics of the course as well.
All things considered, I’m glad I got an opportunity to take this course.
Here are some of the aspects I liked the most:
I’m sure this course grabbed the attention of many fellow Trekkies – and in terms of LeVar’s skill and performance, I’m also sure they weren’t disappointed. At least I’m not.
LeVar is evidently a skillful storyteller, managing to capture attention and keep you interested and focused during the whole course. In other words, LeVar teaches by example. If you pay attention, you’ll notice how he’s taking his own advice – making strong eye contact, using his body and hands, making pauses… Drawing you in, with the words and with the silence.
According to LeVar, that’s the whole point of storytelling – making a connection with your audience (in this case, me, his MasterClass student) and sharing your truth. It’s amazing how much you can learn simply by watching and listening to him speak.
Apart from sharing useful tips and guidelines, LeVar also talks about the power of imagination and the way we can reach out for our dreams. Although this topic tends to get a bit abstract, it’s rather inspiring nevertheless.
In a way, LeVar encourages you to be in the moment, listen to others, practice empathy, and think about your strengths and values. As he puts it, the purpose of storytelling is to remind us of who we are. And the way he talks about art, his life, and storytelling certainly inspired me to ask myself that question once again.
On the other hand, LeVar does have a unique way of speaking his own truth, and I think that in order to benefit from this course, you have to like him as a person. In this course, I got the impression that he is kind, honest, and self-aware, but I also understand if someone expects this course to be less spiritual and emotional.
Specific guidelines and useful tips
LeVar’s course is not all about finding your true voice, bringing your energy, and noticing things around you. It’s also based on more practical stuff and ways you can make an impact on others. For instance, the course teaches how to clarify your message, set an intention, and use rhythm, pacing, and pause.
Moreover, LeVar talks about movement and the importance of warm-up exercises in order to reduce anxiety. All of these tips are very useful both for your professional and personal life.
Top-notch production quality
Another thing I liked about the course is the way it’s produced. This was an educational as well as visually pleasing experience – the videos are beautifully shot, and the whole setting looks great.
Since it’s relatively short, the videos are not as versatile as some other MasterClasses, but that doesn’t affect the overall impression.
Drawbacks of LeVar Burton’s MasterClass
As I mentioned before, I think this MasterClass is inspiring and useful, and there aren’t many things I didn’t like. However, there’s one thing I can point out as a potential drawback.
A very specific tone of the course
Without a doubt, LeVar Burton is an amazing storyteller and teacher. However, he does have a unique way of thinking about storytelling, and his viewpoint and energy affect the tone and pace of the course. I personally found this pacing and atmosphere soothing and inspiring, but that might not be the case for everyone else.
Of course, this is true for every course – whether you like the energy of the instructor or not can affect your learning experience. But when it comes to more ‘concrete’ classes and topics – like science and business – the tone of the course is not as important as its content and the instructor’s skills and knowledge. On the other hand, when it comes to telling stories, communication, and imagination, there are several ways you can approach this.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your personal opinion and preferences.
Review conclusion: Would I recommend LeVar Burton’s MasterClass?
All things considered, I would recommend LeVar’s MasterClass. I think it’s well-balanced, offering a good combination of practical tips and more abstract advice that revolves around energy, self-knowledge, and mindfulness.
It’s a great course for public speakers, podcasters, and storytellers, as well as anyone who wants to improve their communication skills. LeVar Burton’s passion and expertise are undeniable, and he delivers his message in a very impactful way – all the while explaining how you can do the same.
If you’re interested in storytelling and you want to learn how to engage with a wide range of audiences, I believe this course would bring you many benefits.