Go figure. While I was in graduate school, I had a friend who had this mantra: “You gotta know how to use your free stuff.” At the time, I mostly found this repetition comical. But over the years, her voice echoes in my mind because of the vivid truth of what she said. (Be sure to keep reading to learn about the free thing!)
Pandemic Is No Time To Panic
Like so many neighbors and families in the past few months, ours is practicing physical distancing from other households. We are doing our part to “flatten the curve” of the spread of COVID-19. And everyone would do well to do the same if they can. My friends in medical care occupations are already overwhelmed and we don't want to put any undue stress on them or the system that can care for those who are ill.
In addition, the lockdown has proven to be very tricky for many people. For reasons ranging from the challenges of using technology (to keep social connections when we can't meet up) to the mental challenges of isolation, people are struggling. All the while, many of us are also finding so many gifts from this time: What does isolating from other people teach me about myself? What's good about where I live (and for some of us — who I live with)? The beauty and the surprise is how long these lists are when we start from a healthy or grateful place.
Expressing Gratitude Is Free
I have some friends who have boatloads of “extra” time during the lockdown. Not so much for me. If anything, I'm busier than ever. I thought I'd have time to make lots of music. For example, I dreamed of joining the ranks of thousands of musicians who are doing live-streams while concerts and gigs are not possible. But my days are full from the moment I wake up until it's time to go to bed.
I do make time to go hiking, take our dog for walks, make music (usually improvising), and spend quality time with my wife. Those things are almost as essential as eating and sleeping.
So, I want to express my gratitude by giving back. From now until the end of May (2020), the singles and albums on my music site (through BandCamp) will be free. If you want to leave a tip, that's great. But if you need and want the music for download to your library, now's a great time to add my tracks to your playlists.
Keep Giving Back
When I released my first singer-songwriter album in 2017, I promised to give all the money I made from it to a child advocacy charity. I've done that. But now it's time to change the recipient of those donations. Because the past few years have taught me a lot about charitable giving, I've chosen a highly regarded charity with excellent ratings: Bivona Child Advocacy Center. I'm also fond of the fact that they are headquartered in upstate New York and therefore within easy driving distance of where I live (once we're past the need for distancing). I've just submitted the first donation to them. Hopefully, there will be many more thanks to your downloads and streams of my music.
Thanks to all of you who have supported me and my musical aspirations — many of you for years! I appreciate you so much. That's why I'm doing this little bit to give back to you. Enjoy your free downloads!