Follow us on Twitter and keep up to date with the very latest on what we're doing with

Article Categories

How Can We Keep From Singing by Joan Oliver Goldsmith

2001; 223 pp.


W.W. Norton

For me, a lifelong choir addict, singing has always been a golden thread leading through?though not out of?the labyrinth of experience. Joan Goldsmith agrees. Her autobiographical meditation upon choral music as amateur career, therapy, and metaphor for life may move you to try it, or try it again, or try whatever other activity your own "invisible instrument" (not necessarily your voice) may suggest. For Ms. Goldsmith singing is a great joy, but no panacea. Life still hurts plenty; sometimes (but not every time) shared passionate musical expression makes the pain seem bearable, even meaningful. The writing is sharp, the many wise generalizations balanced by unflinching honesty in the face of data conflicting with hope for lasting peace and personal fulfillment.

"Always, always they will ask you to give more?more concentration, more purity of sound, better line, finer adagio...and you will ask yourself what you are doing here after a hard day's work, when you don't feel that good anyway and your spouse is mad at you and your kids say you never get anything right and there isn't enough money to pay all the bills. Then suddenly it flows?a bar, a phrase, perhaps even a whole movement?and you are the physical instrument of something higher.

Then you know creation's assignment: to learn the notes, to find your music. The invisible instrument is the one instrument we must all learn to play."

"I am awed by the rich contributions of the not famous?the fifteenth violinist, the accompanist, the singers in the chorus....We're everywhere?the passionate, committed, talented, frequently unpaid or underpaid workers who make possible the great things of life. We're the utility infielder, the middle manager, the small-enterprise entrepreneur."


ISBN: 0393323641

Order it now from!