Monday, January 12, 2009

Recognize great art when you hear it?

Violinist Joshua Bell participates in a social experiment. Read the full article here.

I received the information below in an email and I had to share it with you!

A  Violinist in the Metro

A  man sat at a Metro station in Washington, D.C. 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 musician  playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried on 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. 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 averaged  $100.

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 best  musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how  many other things are we  missing?

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