Tuesday, February 3

Where do you find beauty?

Here's a story my dad sent me that really sums it all up:


(from The Effective Club)

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 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 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 averaged $100.

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 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?"

Here he is in concert:

Read the entire Washington Post article called Pearls Before Breakfast, it's really well written and worth the read.


Annabelle said...

Oh my goodness that is an AMAZING story!! It gave me goosebumps all the way through, you told it so well too :-)
It's very true, I always have to remind myself to literally "stop and smell the roses" when I go on walks, because I just walk around with my head in the air, too busy to notice the world's natural beauty.

Am going to feature this thought provoking post on my blog today :-)

dwellings and decor said...

It's so weird because my Dad sent this to me too. He actually snail mailed it to me as a christmas thank you card. :) I hadnt seen the video so thank you!

Di Overton said...

What an amazing article. It tells us a lot about our perceptions and the way we live our lives. Time for a change methinks!