Carleen Anderson inspires at amazing Vocal Masterclass

26 April, 2016

When Carleen Anderson agreed to a Vocal Masterclass at BIMM London, we knew our students were in for a treat.

The US soul singer is without doubt one of the most influential vocalists of our time, lending her talents to such big names as Paul McCartney, Chrissie Hynde, Johnny Cash, Omar, Nigel Kennedy, Lalah Hathaway and many more.

Our students could not believe their luck when they were invited to an intimate learning session with the singer. For Carleen, a former Head of Vocals at BIMM Brighton, the event was a welcome return.

The 2013 Jazz FM UK Vocalist of the Year covered a wide-range of topics, including her background, vocal health, and classical training. We also learned about her highly successful music career and past collaborations, including her stint with The Brand New Heavies, on their 1999/2000 ‘Trunk Funk’ tour.

The conversation later turned to her time at BIMM and some of her teaching methods.

“I liked to allow the students to bring their own songs in. They were diverse, even bands like Nine Inch Nails. I like that because it also helped me to learn and practice all these genres so I could then help them.”

Following the Q&A, our students had the chance to impress Carleen with their own vocal talents. The class performed eight bars of two songs, including a piece of music they find particularly challenging.

Carleen was immediately able to tackle some of our students’ individual problems, including their use of belt, low register, and resonance. We also learned some valuable vocal techniques and more about the importance of muscle conditioning.

After the session, we were able to hear Carleen sing herself. “For live performances you have to see Carleen Anderson, at least three times,” proclaimed the late Amy Winehouse. And we couldn’t have said it better, after hearing a moving acapella version of a song from her childhood.

With the session drawing to a close, there was just enough time for our guest to give our students some final words of advice.

“Go back in time to the older singers and listen to those people, then change songs to something that’s unique to you. Be the person that you want to be.”

After the masterclass, we caught up with two of our BIMM London students to find out what they thought of the session.

Alicia Vincent-Brown – Diploma Performance, said:

“It was amazing, really inspirational to hear what she did, and the advice was extremely helpful. It’s nice to come to a masterclass where you’re really inspired.”

Dom Kent, BA Creative Musicianship, said:

“You know when you realise three minutes later – after you hear someone sing – and your tongue is hanging out and your mouths wide open….that’s how good it was!”

Carleen’s Vocal Masterclass did not disappoint. The singer has given our students the confidence and advice they need to progress to the next level. Overall, the session was inspiring, insightful and great fun!

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