Finding Free Music in Boston

Out teachers at A Street are always encouraging students to listen to live music. Helping to develop listening skills in our students is one of the most important missions we have here. Why? Because music is meant to be experienced, whether as a performer or a listener, a composer or a critic. There are plenty of free concert opportunities in Boston across the spectrum of musical genres, and I’m writing this post to try to bring a few of those opportunities to light. Since I, Justin Stanley (Ed Director at A Street), am a classical musician, I may know classical opportunities more than others, so if you read the blog and want to mention something I forgot or missed, please comment!

First and foremost, look to Boston’s big music schools.
New England Conservatory’s events calendar can be found at: http://necmusic.edu/calendar_event. Funnily enough, the first concert I saw on their calendar is a family folk-song concert honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, intended as a family concert. AND IT’S FREE! NEC has tons of free concerts and events each year, and in my experience in Quincy, people don’t always know that.

Berklee School of Music also has quite a few free and cheap events, including concerts, recitals, and masterclasses. Check that out at http://www.berklee.edu/events/. I think our guitar and singer/songwriter students might get a lot out of this calendar.

Follow the following links to calendars at Longy School of Music, Boston University, and Boston Conservatory. All three of those schools have tons of free events as well, as well as great musicians. Other schools in Boston also have free events, and you can search to your fancy online!

Some people might not know that Quincy has it’s own symphony orchestra, online at http://quincysymphony.org/. Their events aren’t usually free, but they have in the past distributed tickets to local businesses, including ours. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to see then yet myself, but I’ve spoken to some really wonderful musicians in the ensemble. Because of Boston’s thriving music scene, it’s community orchestras all include some really great players, and a quick google search of Boston area orchestras could help you find groups in your own neighborhood.

A lot of organizations have cheaper concerts for kids, students, and young adults. For instance, the Boston Symphony provides college cards through many local colleges (check with your own college if they didn’t tell you about it). This lets you into the Symphony for FREE a number of times each season. For people out of school but under 40 years old, the Boston Symphony provides $20 tickets to most of their events, in really great seats!

To see what happened, I wrote “free music boston” in a google search, and the first result took me to a calendar.boston.com site with tons of free events. The Boston Phoenix also has weekly free listings, and features a few of them in their paper each week.

Www.instantencore.com is another great site for free music, in this case recorded. You can listen to tons of concerts in their database, sometimes by really incredible ensembles, all for free. Find free recordings at pandora.com or download Spotify to listen to any music you choose.I don’t think I even have to mention youtube.com, but there, I just did!

Our faculty member Bülent Güneralp referred me to a new resource just today, WGBH’s Classical Kids, a service of Classical New England. In addition to a 24-hour radio broadcast geared toward kids, there are games and links to other kids programs. The internet is full of interactive music programs for kids, though of course, I always think direct engagement with performers and teachers and peers is always best for learning music.

One last resource is this blog. I routinely post the performances of our faculty members and A Street concerts, all free unless specified. Our guitar teacher, Paul Chase, recently had some of his students perform at an open mic at Coffee Break in Quincy. Here’s one video of Jeppe and Michaela to take as out of the holiday season. I’ll post more as I am granted permission. I’m very happy that we’re getting out students out performing more often, and I hope we can continue to inspire people to listen to music of all kinds!

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About Justin Stanley, Teaching-Artist
I'm a musician and educator based in Boston, MA.

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