Violinist in the Metro

I read this on the net and just had to share it.

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?



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8 responses to “Violinist in the Metro

  1. ..

    Yeah, I’ve read this too. NICE BLOG PENNY!!!! He was also poorly dressed and that added to pople’s indifference.Sadly, today nobody has time for anything anymore, let alone music! Their BIG LOSS!!!North America is like that: how much money does that "thing" bring me? NONE? No time for it … zero value for me!!!And what a lesson to learn from children … AGAIN!Take good care of you Penny and have a peaceful night! LOVE, Alex xxx

  2. Karen

    I’d like to think I’d stop and listen, especailly if one of the kids wanted to, but who knows? Good blog Penny thanks for that :) luv Karen x


    Sign of the times , we are all pulled in every direction at once and so the world only exist within the attension span we have.

  4. Embrace

    I really gave alot of thought to this one Penny. Great Story to tell. Thank you.If we just stop in our daily lives and see what it is that makes us happy no matter what it is or what comes along in the end I for one would always be smiling and Thankful. Im very Grateful most times and do stop and look around me. But this Blog says so very much. Very Deep . Thanks for sharing .

  5. Deb's

    hiya Pen (hugs)I’ve read this one before and I have a habit of stopping and listening to music that is played, the last time was a guy playing the guitar, popular tunes and we stopped and talked with him, bought him a cuppa tea and a sarnie and shared lunch with him and then went on our way, so yup most of the time, when I am able to make the time I do. hugsdebsxXx

  6. Martin

    We are a funny breed we human’s sad really

  7. Malcolm

    And at the opposite extreme to this experiment are the numerous frequent concert goers (at least I’ve encountered quite a few) who find every event they attend to be "brilliant", "pheomenal", "amazing" – regardless of the actual quality. After all, they always spend their money wisely! I suspect that it’s simply the ‘right place’ to be seen.

  8. penny

    Quite right Mal

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