Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Stop and....SEE!!!

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 a 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 basket 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, hurrying, 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. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest
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 a theater in Boston with the seats averaged $100.00 each.

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 finest musicians in the world playing some of the most wonderful music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

19 comments:

Kristen said...

Wow that really makes you stop and think! and I will stop and listen more often b/c I'm sure I miss a lot.

Thanks for sharing this!

Hillbilly Duhn said...

I liked this. It's true. So many people are in such a hurry to get on and move through their lives that they miss things. It's a shame.

I would have stopped and listened. In fact, I would have probably been intranced. But, then again, I do enjoy the simple things in life, and would notice such a thing...

Great Post!!

namaste said...

Great story. Thank you so much. This really makes you think!

Mama Wheaton said...

I would hope I would stop, but I know that I get carried away with live and many things that I feel must get done on the list.

MaBunny said...

Wow. I hadn't heard that, but every bit of it is true. Everyone now adays is in such a flippin hurry. Slow down for a few secs... the place you are going will still be there!

♥georgie♥ said...

wow thats powerful!!!!

Lolli said...

I love it! So true!!

Saundra@ItalianMamaGoneCrazy said...

That was truly poetic...

I've missed you too!

You site wouldn't load up for me for a couple of days... so I just waited it out.

Lynette said...

You come up with the best things to pass on to us!!
I would hope I would've stopped, hummm??

jennifersusan said...

Nice story! I think I would've stopped. I always leave myself a ton of extra time when I go anywhere (especially the metra or train stations) because you never know what will happen. My husband used to work in downtown Chicago and I used to love taking the train downtown and meeting him for lunch, especially in the spring and summer. I love open markets and street musicians and just life. I used to make it a point to take all the kids with me once a summer and we'd go all the way down to Michigan Avenue to play in the "face fountain" with all the other kids in the city. That's a nice story--I hope people stopped to listen.

Heatherlyn said...

I've heard this story before. I think I would have stopped, I really appreciate a good violinist. I DO however think that people allow the price of things to determine their value.

One of my friends is a professional photographer. When he started out his prices were really reasonable to photograph a wedding. He wasn't booked for many. He decided to do nothing more than add one-thousand dollars to the price he charged to do a wedding and people began booking. People thought that he was better or more qualified because he was charging more!

tara @ kidz said...

Thanks for sharing! This is amazing.

Vickie said...

I just saw this earlier today! Someone, must be telling me something.

Christina said...

HMMM tons and tons probably! But funny how kids wanna stop and listen. And unless there was someplace that I needed to be right then and there I usually let my kids stop. I try to remember they see the world through different eyes.

Claire said...

That's an interesting story...is it arrogant to think that I would have stopped? I absolutely love music (high school band nerd here!) and am in awe of people who play string instruments. Yes, I have determined-I would have stopped and listened!

Mary said...

Great reminder...I am always entranced by music!!

ChicagoLady said...

As a people, humans are missing so much, by hurrying along in their own little worlds and not paying attention to things around them. And then they wonder why the world is the way it is?

Cassie said...

That is a very interesting story. You just never know who you are passing by without a second thought each and every day. It makes me wonder.

Nina said...

That was a fabulous post!!!
Thanks for sharing it.