View Cart


Listen to Joshua
on this amazing podcast!

Front Cover | Back Cover

Author Biography


Articles & Reviews

The Secret of Music: A Look at the Listening Life

by Joshua McGuire

Print (softcover) $14.95 Add to Cart


An ebook edition of this title is available from Kindle, Google Play, and Apple iBooks.
To pay by check please use this order form.
We are pleased to take orders from retailers. Email us with details about your order or call us at 207-837-5760.

What is this fleeting experience that sometimes hits us when we listen to music? Through several short essays adapted from lectures given at Vanderbilt University between 2008 and 2012, author Joshua McGuire answers this question while exploring what it takes to become better listeners of music. McGuire's premise is that listening to music in a fuller way shows us a fuller way to live, clarifying the way we listen to everything. Ironically, better listening involves a recognition of the absence of time experienced amidst profound silence. After all, the purpose of music is to bring us to silence. “As we listen, we become the silence in which music happens. We disappear.”

MUSIC / Essays

ISBN: 978-1-947067-77-6 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
ISBN: 978-1-947067-78-3 (digital)

LCCN: 2019933163

Released February 2019

110 pages

Author Biography

Joshua McGuire is an award-winning opera librettist. He currently teaches at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.


“Insightful, pithy, surprising, and true. This book strikes at the heart of what it means to make music.”
Deborah Voigt, internationally renowned soprano and recitalist; has appeared as both performer and host of the Metropolitan Opera’s The Met: Live in HD series.

“Joshua McGuire shows us what a profound act real listening is. In equating the act of listening to music with the actual act of living, McGuire asks us to acknowledge that like music our life has a beginning and an end. Music and life, both finite and infinite. After reading this marvelous book, I found myself savoring each moment of my life in real time, vowing to release the past and future, and appreciating the gift that is NOW.”
Darren K. Woods, Artistic Director, Seagle Music Colony

“The basic concepts that Joshua McGuire raises about music, time, and life in his book, “The Secret of Music,” are thought-provoking, compelling, and very much worth the read.”
— Mark Gibson, author of The Beat Stops Here: Lessons On and Off the Podium for Today's Conductor (Oxford University Press, 2017)

Articles and Reviews


Shanti Arts LLC. Copyright © 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Content may not be reproduced in any form.  |  193 Hillside Road  Brunswick  Maine  04011  |  207-837-5760