Happiness is a state of mind

“Happiness is a state of mind.” That was the wise message I received in a fortune cookie the other day. It had me thinking about things that give me happiness, and observing things that make others happy. Music is, as you might expect, a huge source of happiness, and some recent events illustrate that beautifully.

A few weeks ago I performed with my trio in another city, and I stayed at the home of a 20-something family member. She’s a smart, well-educated and accomplished young woman with a successful career and life, a circle of friends, and diverse interests that include travel, pets, cooking and more. I invited her to attend one of my group’s performances, and when we got in the car to go home afterwards she announced with breathless enthusiasm, “I LOVED THAT!!!!”  She went on to explain that she hadn’t known what to expect, doesn’t really listen to much music of any genre, and had assumed classical music was quiet and low energy. She was truly surprised and delighted by the experience — more than just polite praise, this was unbridled enthusiasm. I am still tickled by her outpouring of enjoyment.

And then yesterday, I attended a chamber music performance in a small church. Some of the audience seats are in the choir section directly behind the performers, so the rest of us in the audience could see their faces. One woman, in particular, was clearly mesmerized with delight as she watched the performers intently, beaming and slightly swaying to the music. It added to the joy on the performers’ own faces as they exchanged meaningful glances and gestures while playing.

I can think of many other examples of spontaneous, outward joy created by music, and I feel fortunate to have that connection to something that is a source of such happiness for me and others. Do you have special memories of music giving you that kind of emotional rush? What experiences stand out in your mind when music has filled your heart with happiness?

 

2 comments on “Happiness is a state of mind

  1. Robert Humberston on

    I’ve been fortunate to have had many such moments, both from live as well as recorded performances. In my early teens as one who had recently discovered early music from a music appreciation course in eighth grade, a performance of consort music and a subsequent performance of the Play of Daniel, both by the New York Pro Musica, were life changing. As an adult in my mid twenties, travel to England offered the most sublime church music I’d ever heard in a number of cathedrals and especially Westminster Abbey during Evensong in those beautiful structures. In years following, travels with my wife and young son in Salzburg and Bavaria led to many delightful performances in churches and even taverns with their Alpine folk music. On one such trip driving across the Alps, the rental car radio coincidentally offered a recording of Strauss’ Alpine Symphony at the very moment we were approaching Kitzbuehel, Austria. These are the most immediate moments that come to mind, times of intense joy.

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