Friday, March 18, 2011

It's All About PERCEPTION:

Something to think about...

On a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces in the corridor of a DC Metro station.  In that period of time over 1100 people whisked past, most of them on their way to work...

After about 3 minutes, one middle-aged man in the throng noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, but then hurried on to meet his schedule...

@ :04 the violinist received his first dollar: the woman threw money in the hat and without stopping and continued to walk.

@ :06 a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

@ :07 a 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. 

This occurrence was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

@ 45 minutes the musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. He collected a total of $32.17...

After approx. an hour, the man finished playing...
and silence took over. 

No one even noticed, let alone applaud. 

There was no recognition at all-

But unbeknownst to oblivious DC commuters, the street musician under the ball cap was Joshua Bell- one of the greatest musicians in the world, a Grammy Award winner who has sold millions of records.

He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written... on the Gibson-Stradivarius violin worth $3.5M!

Alas, $20 of the $32.17 he did receive that day came from the only person who actually recognized the famed virtuoso. Just two days prior, this same Joshua Bell had sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100+ each to sit and listen to him play the exact same music...

This is a true story:  Joshua Bell -playing as an incognito busker in the D.C. Metro Station- was organized by WaPo as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

The experiment raised several questions 
we all perhaps need to ask ourselves:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, 
do we perceive beauty?

*If so... do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached 
from the experiment could be this:
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 incredible instruments ever made...

How many other things are we missing 
as we rush-headlong through life...? 

Joshua Wikipedia h/t Speedunque and reaganiterepublican


Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I remember when this happened. It isn't a surprise that people didn't recognize him, but I was so surprised that they weren't drawn in by the music. It must have sounded like could you not stop?

Thanks for visiting me!


Wow, that is powerful. Proof we need to stop and smell the roses, for lack of a better analogy. Sad, the beauty we are missing, isn't it?



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