Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A story

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 thousand 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.

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


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?


Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

That's why we stop and smell all we khan on our walks!

Hoomans khould learn from us!


Anonymous said...

Pamela this has to be one of the most beautiful postings I've read in a long time and speaks volumes about our current social state. The tragedy truly is in how much beauty we miss, right in front of us, everyday. Thank you♥

Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela, I hope you don't mind but I showed this to my son and he would like to post it on his blog as well. He'll credit you of course. Thank you again for sharing this, it moved me to tears.

Pamela, Kira and Scampi said...

I recieved this in one of those forwared emails, I wish more people would read this and stop and think... Thank you for letting me know it touched you also!

Anonymous said...

It really touched us all so much Pamela. I read it to my husband as well and my son reposted it on his blog. Thank you again♥

(By the way I got distracted leaving this comment by the adorable photos you have up on your sidebard - they're just too cute!)

Furkidsmom said...

A good reminder of how we get wrapped up in our own lives and miss so much around us.

Sniffie and the Florida Furkids