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Birth of a Tenor (An Overview)

By Clarkspur Emden

For all the singers in the world, Dario Vanni is preparing an educational CD entitled, Birth of a Tenor, a true revelation of how a singer does not start out “ready-to-go” in the world of singing, but struggles over many mountains to attain that art form. I have heard crude recordings of the 17 year-old Vanni and, all truth be told, it does not even resemble the finished singer of ten years later.

How this overview CD serves as a teaching tool to all those interested in voice is manifold. First, we learn how a voice begins by nature, what one is born with and what exposure one has in the early years to vocal music; we also examine with Dario the effects of inheriting vocal qualities from a parent or family lineage and what to expect from yourself. Then we learn how to build a voice by observing the different stages a singing voice goes through to accomplish what it must do in order to be really “good” in the world. What’s also wonderful about what I’ve heard so far is Dario’s personally taking us through the “ropes”, illustrating with his own songs as he narrates how his ability evolves along the way. We are privy to the honest and heart-felt failures and successes, the shock of hearing one’s self for the first time on tape, the ironies of some peoples’ opinions. Next we learn where the musical heart is within someone; what kind of music shall you sing? That depends on many factors, as you will learn.

In Dario’s case, we go through years of opera, Neapolitan folks songs, on to Broadway, popular music standards, jazz, blues, and the excitement of getting to hear him in “live” performances, remarking to ourselves just how far one can go with focus and discipline mixed in with a lot of natural talent. We hear from Dario himself what to look for, what to avoid, how to challenge yourself, and become someone as a singer by sticking with it, daring to teach yourself by recording yourself. Some of you reading this may live in a remote town or village, out of touch with the musical pulse of the big city. Your computer can help you discover on-line web-world info, but that’s not personal. But this CD will be invaluable to you no matter where you live. In fact, Dario notes that the three greatest voice teachers in the world are (1) a truly good voice builder or coach (2) your own recordings and (3) feedback from strangers in an audience. We also learn how to key songs from your vocal range, how to select tempo, rhythm, and phrasing for your own style of singing and select the kinds of songs best for you by experimentation. “Sometimes the things you like to sing are the only songs you know,” says Dario, “but you’ll never know what else you’re capable of if you don’t explore all kinds of music, old and new, fast and slow. Explore the history of the music you might enjoy singing, whether it’s opera, Broadway, jazz, blues, country, folk, rock, or new world.” Look for the release of this marvelous CD in 2010—and, fasten your seat belt—the next singer on the block could be you! C. E.