Monday, January 26, 2009

For the Music Lovers, supporters, and educators

I checked this story out and, unfortunately, it's true. Sorta a sad commentary....

A Violinist in the Metro

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play
the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for
about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was
calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of
them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there
was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds
and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar
tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued
to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to
him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again.
Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His
mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the
violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to
walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several
other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and
stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their
normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took
over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the
best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces
ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before
his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston
and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro
station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social
experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The
outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour:
Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the
talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best
musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many
other things are we missing?


Nan said...

What an interesting story and social experiment. At least the kids slowed down...I'll try to keep that in mind with my little one and let him explore the world!

Angie said...

Wow. That's really interesting, but knowing the musician in me, I would have stopped, but I guess as a musician I'm an exception to the rule when it comes to something like that. Now maybe if it were a juggler or something, I'm sure I would've kept it moving..