Saturday, October 9, 2010
Who is the Eccentric One? Is it the violinist or the passers by?
Picture, if you will, the scene: Washington DC Metro Station one cold January morning a short while ago. This man is busking - playing his violin; he plays for about 45 minutes and completes six pieces by Bach.
Now, ask Will and Guy - does anyone take any notice? During that time approximately 2,000 people pass through the station, most of them on their way to work.
After 3 minutes a middle aged man notices there was a musician playing. He slows his pace and stops for a few seconds and then hurries to meet his schedule.
4 minutes later: The violinist receives his first dollar. A woman throws the money in the till and, without stopping, continues to walk.
6 minutes after that: A young man leans against the wall to listen to him, then looks at his watch and starts to walk again.
10 minutes later: A 3 year old boy stops but his mother tugs him along hurriedly, as the youngster stops to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushes hard and the child continues to walk, turning his head all the time. This action is repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forces them to move on.
45 minutes later: The musician plays on. Only 6 people have stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 have given him money but continued to walk at their normal pace.
He collected $32.00
1 hour later: He finishes playing and silence takes over. No one notices. No one applauds, nor is there any recognition.
Now - who was the violinist?
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 Stradivarius violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $100.00
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 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: 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? ~Dinah~
Posted by My Aimless Infatuation on Saturday, October 09, 2010