Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Violinist

Today, I found a story at the blog: The Magic Sleigh. Originally, I was going to post about my wonderful Christmas and all the presents, but this came up and I just had to post. It's very enlightening.

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 the 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. This is a real story. 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?

Amatum et Pacis (Love and Peace),



manamoon said...

This is a wonderful post Josh. I'm so happy you're someone who stops to listen to the music of life, it's an honor to be your Mom. And thank you to Pamela for the original posting.

Scarlet Fields said...

Morning Josh! What a great start to my day, and what a lovely post, thnaks for sharing. Hope school is going well-Scarlet

Any Occasion Boutique said...

Beautiful, Josh! Absolutely beautiful. And it is true! Too many people do not stop to listen. Sadly, it is too late when they realize what they have been missing. Oh, keep spreading life my friend ;-) I love you dearly!!!

Josh said...

Thanks everyone! This story is so true, we always go so fast that we can't stop and see what's going on around us. And Scarlet, school is going pretty well; thanks for asking!

Laurie B. said...

What a wonderful post Josh! You share such inspiring and thought provoking topics...my kinda guy! Peace and Love to you as well, Laurie b.

Reshma said...

Wow!what a great thought....I had been feeling all depressed(check out my blog if u want to find out why...)and then I stumbled onto your site..what a wonderful thot...it just made me sit up and think...there's all kinds of musicbeing played out there..and i'm missing out on it by moping around!
thank you, for opening my eyes and ears to the music that is often hidden ....will definitely keep coming back...