Sunday, April 5, 2009

Do you stop and hear the music?

This is one of the most interesting things I've ever heard of.

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 on.

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 recognition.

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.

Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an 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?

I found this on another website that I ran across using "Stumble"

What's amusing to me is that when I went on Google images looking for a picture of a violin I typed in "romantic violin" and I didn't even know that his album was named that. He's a hunk huh!? I just thought that this was such an interesting story and it fascinates me because I study social relationships. I'm sure everyone here in blogland would have stopped and listened. Everyone here definitely knows how to show appreciation for the arts, I suppose it's because we are all obsessed with romance lol. I just wanted to share this story because I think it reflects a lot on current social/cultural relationships. All the best everyone :) By the way you can find this experiment on Youtube and see what happened.


Bonjour Madame said...

That is really interesting! I recall hearing the most hauntingly beautiful music in the paris metro. There are also a lot of really good street musicians here. I've learned to always stop and listen and enjoy it as these moments are fleeting and normally will never happen again.

rosechicfriends said...

I do agree. What a facinating story. It goes right along with do we STOP and SMEEL the Roses anymore? Spring to me, is such a time as to stop and see how the cycle of life God created life each spring always excites me.

Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie / Steppi / Loo Loo said...

I loved reading that story! Everyone in Madrid is always scurrying about, but I love to stop for a second sometimes and listen to the musicians in the metro hallways. It's fun to catch their eye and smile, because they always give you the best smile back.

And also, Joshua Bell IS extremely handsome and his music is beautiful :-)