Faculty Feature: Claire Plumb

Faculty Feature: Claire Plumb

Want to learn more about one of Little Mission Studio’s founders and voice faculty, Claire Plumb? This faculty interview reveals more about her as a musician, teacher, and dolphin-lover . . .

Little Mission Studio: What is your first musical memory?

Claire Plumb: Making a harp out of rubber bands and a shoe box.

When did you realize you wanted to be a musician?

When I played an orphan in the musical “Annie” I couldn’t wait to go to rehearsal everyday. It was so much fun and it felt so right!

What was the hardest part about applying to music school?

Preparing for the audition was hard just because of nerves and traveling all over the place on planes. Much of the music you use for auditions is repertoire you have been working on your whole darn life, so there is a lot of pressure to do it right!

Is there a teacher that stands out as one who was the most musically inspiring to you?

I was lucky to have a wonderful voice teacher from the time I was 8 all the way till my college auditions that exposed me to classical music and vocal technique. When I get a chance to go home I always try to see her. Her name is Lenore Heinson and she is still teaching in my hometown area and spreading her love and passion for music to other young minds.

What is one of your favorite musical performances that you’ve heard?

Meredith Monk played a concert in one of the smaller theatres at Peabody Conservatory. It was so touching, creative and beautiful.  I will never forget how moving and inspiring she was in that performance and how I deeply connected to her musicality and bravery.  She has carved her own path in the music world by being unrelenting and unapologetic, in her beliefs and artistic choices. That performance showed me that there were other avenues available to me in my artistry that I hadn’t previously considered.

What is one of your favorite musical performances that you’ve been a musician for?

There are many, so I’m going to cheat and name a few. I loved my album release show at Vacation two years ago. It was the accumulation of so much hard work. My best friend also got engaged on that night to her husband which was a honor. Performing the Carmina Burana was SO.MUCH.FUN. in college, and basically any time I get to perform a newer work for a composer who is still alive and kicking.

Favorite musical sound/instrument?

My favorite musical instrument is the voice. Shocker! The voice is endlessly interesting to me. The possibilities are exciting, unusual and most of the time surprising. My life is never boring because of the human voice.

Least favorite musical sound/instrument?

Bagpipes? But I don’t think they are supposed to sound pleasant. They were used in war to be scary, so I think they are doing their job quite well.

Favorite musical genre or time period to listen to?

There have been many at this point, so I’ll list specific artists I like to listen to.

  • I really love Nina Simone for her deep beautiful voice, passion and humor. I have a live record of one of her performances that I listen to over and over.
  • Harry Nilsson because he was a song writing genius.
  • Arthur Russell, especially the hauntingly beautiful stuff with cello.
  • Terry Riley, Philip Glass, John Cage, Mozart, Leonard Bernstein, Meredith Monk, Stephen Sondheim, Samuel Barber.

Favorite musical genre or time period to perform?

Experimental Music, 20th century American music, new music, my own music, opera, musical theatre.

Why do you teach?

I believe music is a fundamental part of being a person and existing in this world. Everyone deserves to understand the complexity and beauty of music and find that language within themselves. I also really love working with people and helping them find their own personal voice or giving them the support they need to get to the next level in their musical practice. I had so many teachers that supported me over my musical journey and it is a wonderful feeling to be able to do that for others.

If you could have dinner with any 3 musicians from any time period who would they be?

Tough one. Mozart because sometimes I think he can’t be real, and I want to make sure he isn’t an Alien. Samuel Barber because whenever I listen to his music I think we would have been friends. And Poulenc because he seems like a sweet guy you might also have some funny jokes with.

If you could only ever eat one of these for the rest of your life, which would it be: cake or pie?

Cake. Frosting! Duh.

What is your favorite dinosaur?

I don’t know, the nice kind that you can ride and be friends with.

What is your favorite color?


If you were an animal, which would you be?

A house cat or a dolphin. A Cat/Dolphin fusion? Napping, swimming, and singing are some of my most favorite pastimes.

When you’re not playing, practicing, or teaching music, what do you spend most of your time doing?

Staring at my plants while drinking a tea and taking care of them. Running, biking, writing my own music, reading books. Going to a good show, is the best!

You can read Claire’s full performance and teaching bio here.