Whether you’re a professional singer looking to tweak your style and polish up on imperfections in your technique, or a complete beginner looking to learn a new skill, hundreds of online singing courses exist. Despite this, for some, it can be difficult to find the perfect course for their vocal capabilities and genre.
Specifically tailored towards Pop and Rock singers, “Christina Aguilera Teaches Singing” offers students across the world a once in a lifetime opportunity to be taught the vocal techniques of the singer herself in just 3 and a half hours, whilst also offering insight into the singer’s route to success and personal experiences with live performance.
In this article, I will be providing you with an in-depth review of the singing course, by reflecting on the content, analysing the positives and negatives of it and examining what you can do to get the most out of it. Ultimately, by the end of the article, you should have a clear insight as to whether this is the course for you.
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Christina Aguilera Masterclass
Christina Aguilera, known for chart-topping hits such as “Genie in a Bottle”, “Lady Marmalade” and “Say Something” released the 23 part course in 2016 on Masterclass, an online education service in which industry professionals produce pre-recorded online classes. These can then be accessed by students either via an all-access pass, which will grant the customer access to every course on the website for $180 a year or through the purchase of a “one-off” pass, which provides the customer access to one course of their choosing for $90.
For me, the content of the course was far from my expectations. The content of a typical online vocal course usually tends to focus on vocal exercises, genre specific techniques and pitch training, meaning that you are generally repeating the same processes in each course, and failing to enrich your knowledge or skill.
Full Detailed Review of Christina Aguilera’s MasterClass
First, Christina invites you to reminisce over her inspirations, citing Billy Holiday and Nina Simone as two artists who have helped her to shape her career and truly connect with her audience when performing. Then, we reach the technical aspect of the course. We are taught the basic, yet important practices of protecting your voice through vocal warm-ups, allowing rest and restraining your voice when needed.
The course then focuses specifically towards the niches of Rock and Pop genres, which many of Aguilera’s songs, such as “Genie in a Bottle’ and “Fighter” fit into. Christina identifies important ways to change your voice for the style of song you are singing, such as changing your posture, displacing vocals, and adding a bit of attitude to your performances.
After that, the course then focuses on the aspect of performing, which despite it being such an integral part to many singers’ career, is often overlooked in online singing lessons. We are taught about how to perform with different microphones in different environments, how to beat performance anxiety, and how to engage an audience with a stellar live vocal performance.
To conclude the course, Christina takes time to reflect on her own personal journey; it’s vital to take note that throughout her career, the 39 year old has enjoyed many prosperities including multiple Grammy awards, the birth of her child and landing a gig judging on “The Voice”. On the contrary, she’s also faced her fair share of hardships, such as child abuse, divorce, and constant media haggling over her weight gain and turbulent personal life.
Despite this, Christina teaches her students to channel the emotions caused by these events into your performance, to express yourself freely without any shame in order to engage your audience and put on an amazing show.
This is what I love about the course – through the insight into her thoughts and opinions about performing, you can see that “Christina Aguilera Teaches Singing” is a personal product of Christina Aguilera herself. She is the one in front of the camera, delivering not just lessons on her technique, but also an in-depth view of her career – the up and downs, along with the mistakes she has made along the way and what she did to improve them. This is a real course, teaching students that being a pop star isn’t just rocking up to a performance, singing for a few hours, and then going home. To be successful, one has to sacrifice a lot, work hard and deal with a lot of disappointment and rejection before making it big in the cutthroat world of music.
Now that we know what the course contains, let’s move on to the positive aspects of the course.
Advantages of the Christina Aguilera Masterclass
I think that the strength of the course is due to the platform it has been released on, which is the aforementioned website Masterclass. Upon the purchase of “Christina Aguilera teaches singing”, the student will gain immediate access to all 23 parts of the online video course, which can be viewed as many times as the student wishes. A 47 page PDF class workbook, which contains recaps of each lesson, space to write notes about what you have learnt, and links to resources for further learning is also provided.
This is a really great addition to the course, as it gives the student the opportunity to learn the same way they would in a classroom environment – by making notes on the key points of the course for later reference in an organised manner, rather than scribbled notes on scraps of spare paper.
As well as this, Masterclass has a monitored comment section, which allows the user to join discussions with other students about the course and ask questions to instructors, who will do their best to answer the questions and educate the student further. In my opinion, this is a great initiative as it allows the user to interact with what they are watching with other like-minded individuals, who are eager to hone their craft and learn from the best.
Comparing “Christina Aguilera teaches singing” on Masterclass to any standard YouTube tutorials, the production quality is immeasurable. Each Masterclass course is filmed with Hollywood standard production in studios across the US, and the website itself works flawlessly, providing the student with a seamless stream of content right before their very eyes with no limitations.
Many other online courses tend to cap their users to a pay-per-month pass, meaning that if they wish to continue learning, they must continue to pay a monthly subscription to access the course. With Masterclass’ one-off pass, once you have purchased the course, you will always retain access to the content, regardless of how long it takes you to complete the course, therefore you won’t lose any of your progress should you decide to take a break from it.
Essentially for $90, you are purchasing the right to utilise 3 and a half hours worth of singing tuition, which is readily available for you to use whenever, wherever? Personally, I believe this is a steal for the price, considering the fact that Christina Aguilera is a multi award-winning singer and songwriter, with over 20 years of industry experience. In other words, she knows exactly what it takes to be a pop super-diva, and for a small price, you can learn from the best.
Not So Good About this Course
Although so far, you may be in disbelief that an online singing course can provide so much and be so well regarded, but as with everything in life, “Christina Aguilera Teaches Singing” does have some downfalls which need to be discussed.
When you look into what each lesson of the course actually teaches you, there is very little focus on the practical side of singing. Of the 23 separate lessons, only 9 really teach the student how to actively improve their vocals. The rest of the course consists of accounts of Christina’s life and experiences, plus advice on how she uses various pieces of equipment, such as studio and live performance microphones to get the most from her voice.
Apparently, I’m not the only person to think this, with Facebook user Bríd Gallagher saying:
“Signed up for the Christina Aguilera Masterclass and needless to say am [sic] very disappointed, all she does is talks about herself and teaches 0 singing technique, she admits to never actually having any formal training. Why don’t Masterclass just get the head of vocals of a revered music conservatoire to teach actual useful vocal lessons? Pure waffle”.
Whilst I do understand the frustration some may feel with this course, I think that when you stop and think about who you are actually learning from, the content of the course becomes a fairer deal. Christina herself has never claimed to be a professional vocal teacher, and it shows, particularly in a bizarre moment when she asks producer Rick James what a 6/8 time signature means.
A professional teacher would immediately lose all accreditation just at the thought of asking such a basic question, but at the end of the day, ask yourself this – Does Tony Hawk know the physics theory behind a 900? Heck no, but he knows how to pull one-off, and for a performer, that is the most important thing.
The same concept applies to Christina. She is not a classically trained singer and she doesn’t fully understand the theory behind what she does, but she is the one who has amassed millions of fans across the world, selling out stadiums full of people paying to see her do what she does best, and as a performer, that is all that matters.
In all honesty, Aguilera, with a net worth of over $160 million probably didn’t depend on the success of this course to pay her bills. Instead, she was eager to share her experiences as a singer with the audience, and hopefully help them to understand the day to day lifestyle of a professional singer and performer.
Despite all of this, it must be said that with any pre-recorded online lesson, you just don’t get to experience the tailored, one-to-one tuition you would get from a vocal coach in real life, where someone would be with you to hear your singing and provide you with personal feedback on how to improve. Although you can discuss your technique with instructors in the Masterclass comments, no one is there to personally guide you on YOUR journey. In my opinion, with this course, Christina is trying to tell you how you can replicate her journey into superstardom, rather than create a new journey for yourself.
As well as this, upon further inspection of the comments section and the private Facebook group for students on the course, the discussions mainly tend to be people sharing their goals for the outcome of the course or opinions of the course, much like a YouTube comment section, which by the way, is free.
Another negative I found is that “Christina Aguilera Teaches Singing” seems to be geared more towards professionals and experienced singers rather than beginners, which is fair enough – After all, it’s been a long time since Christina was a beginner. Regardless of this, If I were to have purchased this as a superfan of Aguilera, eager to begin to learn how she hits those incredible high notes or sustains those belts, I would be bitterly disappointed about what I have received, despite the slightly misleading course trailer, which shares one of the rare instances in the course where Christina actually teaches you a technique to improve your voice.
In conclusion, for the money its worth, it’s a fair enough deal due to the fact that it is a course by Christina Aguilera, presented by Christina Aguilera. It would have been very easy for her to sit in a room with a group of vocal coaches, producers and writers, and agree to put her name on a vocal class that she barely added two words to, but no. Christina took the project into her own hands, and although it may not be the most technically accurate, professional vocal coaching series, it is a product of someone who has been there, done that and got the T-shirt.
Had the course been presented by a relatively unknown singer, I do feel that the price may be a bit extortionate, however, it must be noted again that once you purchase this course, you can go back to it as much as you like, so if you need a recap in a few years time, the content is readily available at the click of a mouse.
Overall, if you’re looking for a 3 and a half hour speed run into becoming a multi award-winning superstar singer, this is not the course for you. The idea of the course is to improve the existing skills of the singer and develop the confidence of the individual in order to help them take their next step in the music business. It is by no means suitable for beginners, so, if you’re looking to take the first steps into the world of singing, I would recommend taking a few in-person vocal lessons with a qualified vocal coach, before considering purchasing this course.
On the other hand, if you’re a novice, looking to take your vocal expression to the next level, this course is perfect for you. Christina will show you how to channel your emotions through your performance, and really shine when it comes to both live performance and studio recording.