Following last week’s post by guest writer Allison Moody, about a variety of arts that can help your happiness, I was inspired to write about my favorite area of the arts.

Like the singer in the song by the O’Jays, I loves music, any kind of music. It’s much easier for me to make a list of the music I don’t regularly listen to (such as jazz and classical) than the numerous genres of music that I do listen to. I got addicted to listening to music when I was a kid, in the 1970s, and I regularly listen to music from the 1960s to today.

As I began writing the next sentence of this post, about all the different times that I listen to music, it started to feel like a Dr. Seuss-like poem, so I went with it:

I listen while I work, I listen while I play

I listen in the night, I listen in the day

I listen in my home, I listen in my car,

I listen all alone, and in a crowded bar

Free, Live Music

While I can go on and on about the ways that I enjoy music, I want to focus this post on live music—specifically free, live music.

I’ve gone to tons of live music performances in the past 35 years—mostly what would be called “rock concerts.” I love those shows. I’ve spent over $100 at times (for example, to see one of my all-time favorite bands, U2, a few years ago), but I mostly spend $30-$50 for a ticket.

I also spent a lot of time at free music events during 2012, something I had rarely done in the past.

It started when my friend Steve invited me to see his band, the Sprinkle Genies perform at a bar in the East Village (Manhattan) in December of 2011. They were celebrating the release of their second album and the show was free. I’m a big fan of that album and the show was great.

In addition to the Sprinkle Genies, Steve writes folk/country songs and in 2012, with his friend Nancy on vocals, he began to perform those songs at local venues. The first one that Steve invited me to was an open mic night. There was no cover charge and no pressure to buy anything, though I chose to buy a drink.

What I loved about this particular evening was that anywhere from three to seven musicians joined in as Steve and Nancy played. These musicians were so talented that they didn’t need to know Steve’s songs. They just walked up and started playing their instrument (drums, bass, guitar, lap steel guitar, sax, tambourine, harmonica, and more) and it sounded great.

As much as I love music, I don’t play an instrument and maybe musicians would be less impressed than I was with the jam session that I watched that night. Whatever. I loved it. And I went back several more times to those open mic nights.

I also saw Steve and Nancy, and then several other performers, play at a Starbucks and it, too, was wonderful.

Maybe you already know about the availability of shows like these and maybe you already take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy evenings like these. If you don’t, and you love music, check it out.

And free or not, if you used to go to live concerts and stopped for whatever reason, and would love to start going again, make sure to make the time to do so.

What are your thoughts about music and happiness? And what are other types of entertainment that you enjoy at no charge? Join the conversation with your comments…

Best regards,