11 Important Lessons I Took Away from Christina Aguilera's MasterClass
I've always dreamed of being a pop-singing sensation.
So when I heard that Christina Aguilera paired up with MasterClass – a totally rad online education program – to provide aspiring singers with the tools they need to succeed, I was beyond excited.
I eagerly signed up for the $90 class and dove into the material, which includes 23 video lessons, interactive exercises and even a workbook with assignments! It's like actual school (but don't worry, it's totally fun!).
It's suggested that you take MasterClass over a six week period, but I was ambitious and completed the videos within a week's time – basically a crash course! Here are 11 lessons I took away that might inspire you to take the course yourself.
1. Find your inspiration.
Christina really stresses the idea of finding singers, movies and performances that inspire you. She credits singing legend Etta James as being the individual who helped her develop her raspy voice!
If you listen carefully to Etta James' performance of "Something's Got a Hold On Me," you can see how Christina has mimicked some of her soul. Learning by example is the best way to go!
2. Believe in yourself.
Christina's fifth video in the series is all about range and hitting those super difficult high notes. I've personally always struggled with building up the stamina (and courage) to sing any song that requires me to belt out a high note. Like "The Star Spangled Banner," for example.
Christina gives us the expert advice to not focus so much on hitting those high notes, but to focus on hitting the note right before it with as much power and force as you can. If you believe in yourself and sing from your core, it's only a matter of time before your range is widened.
Fun fact: Her MasterClass includes a vocal range finder that allows you to identify and improve your range. How rad!
3. Simplify your singing.
This, to me, was one of the most important lessons I took away from this class. Christina has 3 "Student Session" videos dedicated to helping fellow singers improve their skill. In one of the sessions she helps pop singer, Emily, learn to control her voice.
Sometimes you need to simplify a song and strip it down to show off your true emotions.
She explains that quirks, quivers and cracks in your voice can be incredible! Listen to her performance of "Beautiful," and you will see exactly what I mean.
4. Diction is important – but don't over enunciate.
I've always been under the impression that you have to enunciate everything you sing! But Christina really emphasizes that enunciation is totally situational. The way you say or sing a word can totally transform the meaning.
If you're playing a character in a school play you should enunciate and pronounce things the way you think that character would in the environment they are in.
I love the fact that Christina really enforces the idea that there is no rule book for these things! Go with your gut, girls!
5. Playing with textures and tones can help emotionally charge a performance.
Christina says multiple times throughout her class that emotion is everything. I couldn't agree more.
It's amazing how versatile our voices can be, and how we have the ability to create a mood simply by changing our tone! Christina can go from sounding raspy and soulful, to sweet and poppy, just by switching things up.
Listen to her more poppy tone here:
6. If you're going to do a duet, find a partner you have a connection with and don't make it a competition!
Singing with a friend can be so much fun, but also challenging if you don't find the right partner to duet with! You never want to feel like you are competing with the person you are singing with, so find someone who balances you out.
Christina performed her duet "Say Something," to show us what it looks like to work with a partner. Have you seen the music video she does with A Great Big World? Some major chemistry going on.
7. Reinventing a song you love can bring it to life.
One of the tutorial videos is dedicated completely to finding the beat! After watching the video, I completed the additional assignment that asked me to take a song and change the tempo of it completely to see how different it could sound.
I took the song, "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz, which is typically slow, and then sped it up. It was crazy to hear how the song instantly transformed into something completely different by switching up the beat. I totally recommend trying this exercise yourself! ?
8. Everyone gets performance anxiety.
Phew! I totally thought only amateurs like me get scared before hitting the stage, but it turns out even mega-pop stars like Christina get nervous, too. How comforting is that?
Finding an outlet to release all the nervous energy is extremely helpful. Christina recommends breathing exercises or yoga! Live that zen life. ?
9. If you make a mistake just get right back up!
There's a whole video dedicated to overcoming errors, which I truly appreciated. This video stresses the importance of using your mistakes to help you grow. If you have an audience or group of people that don't particularly like your performance, don't let that get you down!
Christina explains that she's had people actually throw items at her during a performance. She could have given up, but she turned the concert around, she pumped the audience up and she believed in herself.
That's what I'm talking about.
10. Keep a journal and share your work.
As Christina wraps up her class, she sheds light on some of the key tools that can lead to success. Journaling can help spark ideas, organize thoughts and get those creative juices flowing.
Once you have ideas or have practiced a song, share it – don't keep it to yourself! The cool thing about this program is that there is a private Facebook group you can join to engage with other students and share what you are working on. The group was super welcoming and it was amazing to see people who originally were terrified of sharing their work posting videos of themselves singing.
11. Feel empowered and have an opinion.
Above all, singing is all about self-expression. We all have an opinion and a voice that matters. Christina encourages us to take risks and sing about things that truly matter to us. Who knows, our songs and experiences quite literally might strike a chord with others and encourage them to speak their truth as well!
Pretty powerful stuff.
- If you're looking for an inspiring singing course by one of the top pop singers – this is it!
- If you're looking for really technical singing lessons, this might not be the right program for you. But don't let that discourage you from trying it out!
- If you do take this course, there's no doubt you will walk away with a real sense of how Christina got to where she is and how much time, effort and skill it takes to be a true pop star?. Rock on!
No matter your age, it's totally possible to go after whatever you want! No dream is too big. Check out this 12-year-old girl who blew away X-Factor judges with her uh-mazing singing voice HERE.