Thursday, July 23, 2009
Food for Thought
From an email I received this week. It does check out as "true" on snopes.com
Musician playing violin in a Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January morning
He played six Bach pieces for about 60 minutes. During that time
approximately 2,000 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
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in
the till and without stopping, continued to walk.
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his
watch and started to walk again.
A three year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly,
as 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. Every parent,
without exception, forced them to move on.
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
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one
applauded, nor was there any recognition.
This is a real story. The Washington Post, as part of a social
experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities, arranged the
entire scenario. Playing incognito, no one knew 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 prior to this, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where
the tickets averaged $100 per seat.
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 such an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be:
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 ....... How many other things
are we missing?