IN A SENSE the invitation to sing is an invitation to return to childhood, and in Singing for the joy of It (Pierswell Press, 99 pages, $14.95 paper) Joan Goddard Maloney insists that everyone can sing. Throughout this spiral-bound book are constant and encouraging reminders to enjoy yourself as you begin to discover or develop your own voice, which is, Maloney emphasizes, as individual as your handwriting. There are also practical tips on voice care and anatomical illustrations of the vocal folds and surrounding areas (we are told they are no longer referred to as "cords").
In order to free the voice, the divine aim of this modest discipline, the whole body needs to be enlivened, pleasurably engaged, and at ease in the world. "Imagine," Maloney writes, "you are filling the room with your energy and presence." The body and breath exercises suggested are effective and appear to have been strongly influenced by the author's study of yoga. As well, there are exercises for pitch, breath control, focusing, flexibility, and articulation that, like the five songs included, could best be utilized in the presence of a teacher. Eight 30-minute daily routines are also provided. Maloney wisely advises: "If there are some exercises you don't like, don't do them."
All of the sections offer simply stated "do's and don'ts" for singing, and the book also includes an interesting and varied reading list. While Singing for the Joy of It could be a helpful introductory guide for teachers and their beginning students, it could also be useful as a memory aid for advanced students.