Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pearls Before Breakfast




Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.


4 minutes later:

the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk..

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.


10 minutes:


A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.


45 minutes:


The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.


1 hour:


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 Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true 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 people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.... How many other things are we missing?


Full Story in Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html

12 Comments, shout outs, and other gold diggin' love:

weezermonkey said...

Amazing.

Winnie said...

Ooooh that's a terrific story. I think it especially applies to me lately.

NorCalMrs said...

That gave me chills. So true. What a wonderful story.

Dana said...

OH! Love this story. I'm definitely passing it on.

Insomniac said...

I never get tired of reading this article...

10yearstogether said...

Why am I crying? I'm totally crying. I love this story. And now I'm off to go circulate it to my other friends who don't know you so I can pass it off as my own discovery.

dapotato said...

love this story.

and some architecture that conducts a similar social experiment on opera-goers (that was unfortunately never built).

Jessica said...

Thanks for sharing this. What a fantastic story.

Serendipite said...

I truly believe we miss a lot. I know I miss too much.

amber said...

Really amazing story. Thank you for posting this.

wan said...

i am sad at the parents who rushed their kids along, especially those who showed interest.

AlinkaBean said...

WOW, Amazing, Sarah, I got chills...

 
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