Monday, January 30, 2012

Perception, Taste & Priorities

In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:
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 action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 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. The man collected a total of $32.7

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest 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, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

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

This experiment raised several questions:

*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 this 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 beautiful instruments ever made . . ..

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

Enjoy LIFE now....... it has an expiration date.


Mystica said...

I too read of this incident years ago! strange.

Chrissie Marshall said...

Recently on a trip to Barcelona there was a guy playing guitar and we stopped and listened to 2 pieces it was quite amazing as he made the guitar sound like it was singing to you, hauntingly beautiful. But then we were not in a rush.
I thought this was an interesting experiment.

Bee's Quality Garments said...

Very interesting story, people must slow down and enjoy all they can!

Susan Hemann said...

Amazing story. I'm pretty good at stopping to look or hear or tast or smell something. I was always pointing out these things to my children when they were little. Unfortunately they have been caught up in the race. Especially my son. Hopefully he will soon slow down. Same with my daughter, although I drag her to parks and the beach etc..

Kayla @ TheEclecticElement said...

I read about this a while ago and it really DOES make you stop and consider the fact that we ARE all too busy these days to enjoy the beauty in life.

Hopefully those people who are "too" busy can take away the lesson this was meant to teach!

Victoria said...

His music is beautiful, I enjoy just listening to the few minutes he played in this audio, I can't image what it sounded like in that hall.

Susan D said...

I think people fail to stop because they worry about what other people will think of them standing to listen to someone playing in public. There is also the fact that too many people spend most of their lives rushing and don't take time to see and here the good things in life.

Chrissie Marshall said...

I sincerely hope so Kayla but I think it's a lesson we all need to heed from time to time. Thanks for taking the time to comment.:)

Chrissie Marshall said...

I think it would reduce me to tears Victoria violins have that effect on me! especially when played by Joshua

Chrissie Marshall said...

I never thought of that side Susan I don't think I personaly would care what people thought, but can see how some might, what a pity that is

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