Music & Entertainment

Playing With Textures and Tones

Christina Aguilera

Lesson time 15:24 min

Christina demonstrates how to use different textures and tones, from gritty growl to haunting sadness, to emotionally charge a performance.

Christina Aguilera
Teaches Singing
Christina teaches you her unique vocal techniques in over 3.5 hours of voice lessons and exercises.
Get Started


For me, I love in the paintbox, right, having a lot of different outlets for creating a mood and an environment. And I call it textures. I even reference the lead singer of Korn. He has a very interesting voice. Bjork. They have so many different colors and textures in their paintboxes where they can just explore a variety of sound. I'll go through my songs. But for instance, "Ain't No Other Man." That's going to call for a big, soulful, juicy, meaty, gritty, fun vocal for me. So it's a matter of the-- (SINGING) Hey. Ain't no other man can stand. And that whole thing projects from down in that place where I say the center and the core and the place where you do crunches from and all your emotion boils and comes together and gets connected. And so that gives you that really grounded foundation to then lift up and out. Everybody has their own tone. My specific tone sometimes is having a-- there's like a real intensity to it. It just comes from a natural place. What I was taught and what I practiced with my vocal lesson-- and there's a specific spot in it where you can hear the vocal teacher's voice saying, OK, bear down on it, but don't hold it in your mouth. Don't hold it there. Relax your mouth. Relax your face. Bear down on it. "Bear down" meaning compress. Compress from below, that same, like, as if you're doing a crunch or a sit-up or something like that. So bear down on it. And literally visualize the note before you sing it. There's one that I do, (SINGING). So it's "lun-gee." And then it goes, (SINGING) Lun-gee. So here's the difference I guess I can see in this one. (SINGING). Now right there, I'm kind of in my nose. I'm doing that eh-eh thing, so (SINGING). Now, if I open up my throat a little and my nose, if I'm visualizing this, (SINGING). It's more muted. Can you see how it's more like-- I don't know. There's a slight difference. I don't even know if it makes sense. But to me, I can feel it when it's more in my throat. You don't want to go in your nose. You have to go from a more throaty point if you want to-- I'm talking up here right now, but if I want to (SINGING) go low, I don't really want to sing in that tone. (SINGING) Go low. To have a nice, rich, bassy tone, you kind of want to throw it back in your throat. I'm almost caving in my chest a little bit. (SINGING) Go low. It's almost hot tea or something going down. It's smooth, just to have that bassy sound. But there's such a difference if I sing it through my nose and don't think about going to my throat. (SINGING) Go low. That would be through my nose. But if I open up my throat and go into my chest, take a bigger breath, so I give myself that expansion and that room to go in, it's almost that place, again, almost like when you're going to yawn. It's like (SINGING). It's almost that. It's exp...

Your New Voice Teacher

Christina Aguilera teaches you how to expand your range, find your voice, and master the techniques that have earned her five Grammy Awards. In her first-ever online singing class, you’ll learn warm-up exercises, breath control, vibrato, her signature growls, and hear Christina break down her biggest hits. You’ve never had vocal lessons like this before.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This was as much a lesson about life, as it was about singing! Christina is a powerful singer because she is spiritual to her core, her singing - soulful. So much to learn from what she said! Namaste

The class giving me a new inspiration for working myself and new power for find my new abilities!

Can't wait to hopefully reach my goals as an artist by taking in all the knowledge I possibly can from your lessons!!!!

I learned so much about who I am and what I need to do to become a better performer/singer and become a better person! Thank you Christina!


David G.

Great lesson! You don’t come to a class with Christina to get basic technical information. Her experience and approach on expression is very valuable.

A fellow student

For most of the lessons, it doesn't seems like anything is really being taught. It is more just being told what it feels like for her. Was hoping it would be more helpful.

A fellow student

She Might not be a master of techniques but she is truly a master of expression.

Anna P.

Does Christina have synesthesia? This entire lesson (and some of the previous ones) simply scream it with how obviously visual of an experience singing is for her.

Morgan D.

This is one of my favorite lessons... Christina is truly a master at creating vocal textures and using different tones that help tell the story of a song. If you ever questioned it, you won't after this lesson! Man...

Morgan D.

I would practice singing in the various ways she was throughout the lesson, and I would highly encourage everyone to do that. Because singing isn't like other instruments that have buttons to press... you really have to learn how each texture and tone feels within your body to be able to reproduce it later. The biggest takeaway I got from this lesson is to experiment and play with your voice as much as possible, then pick what tones and textures suit you and the songs you are singing. I love how she points out that unique textures and tones in singing play a part in making a song memorable. Truly... the way she sings Genie in a Bottle is really a great example of that.

Simon W.

Mentioned was the singer from the cranberries. Dolores O'Riordan died 2018 Linger - love sick love song, mumbly at points Zombies - total contrast, rough, hard even grungy -


Christina, this lesson engaged me even more than others. Having studied linguistics I had some terminology I could stick in for my own benefit here and there and it dawned on me that you could study up on phonetics/phonology! Not get super into it or anything, but discover how the science of the production of specific sounds in language really is precisely what you discuss here and in the previous lesson on enunciation. Technically speaking, conveyance of emotion and ambience are more complicated than Phonology 101, heh; but my point is that you might find a couple of unexpected tools as well as a perspective most of us never consider. I've tried to give an example, but it's hard in text to be short and to the point so I've deleted all I've started here. Just trust me that the terms "points of articulations" and "tone" and "nasal" and "vowel length" and "onset" all are relevant. Hmm. Now I'm thinking there must be some people online fluent in both linguistics and music and performance theory since there is so much overlap. My instinct is telling me it's relevant to autism and trauma recovery (Gabby Giffords?), too. Anyway, thank you for your course. Your Upfrontism™ is inspiring and sings to even nerds like me. :)

Chava G.

Engage the core, good advice and I got a much better, stronger, healthier, more pleasant sound, when utilizing my center. Being made aware to use the intensity of voice with the breath, using air instead of throat force - helps develop altered smoother adlib, texture, tone. Crying, breathy, cracks, quiver, vibrato, are all vehicles to the heart. This is so good Ms Aquilera. and I immediately improved with engagement, exercising, and visualization. Will have to keep working with this class, in fact working this way, works very well for me, so lots of gratitude!

A fellow student

LOVE the lessons but can’t take my mind off of.... WHAT LIPSTICK IS THAT?!? She sings, she talks, she licks her lips and the lipstick won’t budge!!!!! Need it ASAP