Serve with integrity. Care about those you serve. Share the love in your heart & soul.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

#537 Violinist in the Metro

This is another one of those wonderful stories that circulate in cyber-space. I received it in an email this morning. Thanks to Maryann and Priscilla.

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 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 some of the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing

May you all have a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2009!

What do the children know that we have forgotten? Hmmmm.



Merle said...

Hi Jack ~~ Good post and we should take more time to show
our appreciating for all the wonderful things around us in this world. Glad you enjoy the jokes. Have a happy
Christmas and a great 2009.
Regards, Merle.

Christina said...

Very good post. I agree, what do the children know that most of us don't?

shannon said...

i was walking from the bus stop to meet friends. a rose stood as high as my nose. i stopped, took a sniff as another pedestrian was heading towards me. he smiled and nodded at me saying, "good for you."

The Real Mother Hen said...

I confess, I'm one of those ungrateful kids of today :)

Nah, I am no longer kid, but I'm still ungrateful, that's worse actually! :)