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Vance’sMondayNitePajamaParty #71


Who gets 10%: Making Music Matters committed to ensuring equity of access to quality Arts Education, specifically instrumental music instruction, to students in the Boston Public Schools.

$$: or or
a check to VanceFunder P.O. Box 17,
Arlington, MA 02476 for this web-groovery.

Pay or not. Up to you. Let’s stay connected.

This week’s pajamas: ok

I teach and coach stuff.

Good Good Man - the CD - streaming all over, even get one from me…

LIVE SHOWS - (but yeah, I’m still gonna do Monday nites...)

Sat Aug 14, Cambridge MA - CLUB PASSIM there’s like 10-12 tix left. Bring proof of vax, thanks, or no entry. Craig Aiken on bass.



I got this voice student that we’ll call Dave. We’ll call him Dave because that’s his actual name. He came to the Rocky Mountain Song School some years ago with his wife Amy who sings like a broken-winged angel. Dave plays utterly remarkable fingerstyle guitar behind her, but he couldn’t sing a note. For real, not a single note having to do with any previous notes would come from his face. But he wanted singing so badly.

See, Dave’s of those people told early in life that he should never sing and to leave the chorus room and go to gym. I believe that there’s a Nurenberg made for teachers that tell children that. Yeah I said it.

But there we were, weeks and weeks of Zoom and his face making strange notes clearly from other songs than the one he’s playing on the guitar.

So I went and took a lesson with friend and world-renown voice coach Ron Browning – Alison Krauss, Don Henley, Carrie Underwood, Patti LaBelle, – to figure out what I should be doing with Dave.

“Have him sing nursery rhymes. They’re already in his head, consist of very few notes, and are easy. Look Vance, you wouldn’t take someone that never had the chance to swim and throw them into the deep end and expect any kind of success, right?“

So after a year of Black Sheeps having wool, Three Blind Mice, easy folk-rock songs, woodsheding his own penned “River”, there he was, on stage, in front of 100 people at the student open mic Tuesday night, his first time ever singing in front of anyone but his wife or me. Amy and I are in the back gripping each other like some couple waiting for test results.

“He’ll slip around for the first few notes and then settle down, his voice eventually in tune ,” I predict to Amy.

The beautiful guitar intro leads into his first sung notes which are just vocal perfection. Amy and I burst into tears, quite audibly, holding each other tight. People around us who didn’t know us later tell that they thought we were some couple that had broken up right then and there.

Then came the masterful guitar solo fingerstyle break, which Dave is noted for. And it was as if his fingers got caught underneath the strings. Like he had forgotten which end of the guitar had a hole in it, so he said “screw it” and decided to finger it like a tuba.

The three of us laughed so hard at this later.

But now, the crowd cheered. Clapped. Hooted. For this now singer-songwriter Dave.

Dave, the success story that starts with nursery rhymes.