My friend Amy sent this to me this morning~  Thought you all might find this fascinating!

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

4 minutes later:
the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the till and, without stopping, continued to walk.

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

10 minutes:
A3 year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly, as 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. Every parent, without exception, forced them to move on.

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.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. 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, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two&nbs p ;days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

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?

7 Responses to “What are we missing?”

  1. Hi everyone….sorry for the look of this post. I can’t figure out how to fix it~
    Hope everyone stops and enjoys the beauty around them :)

  2. Wow…this has me feeling thankful for a body that demands an oh so slow pace of life. The consequences of taking it slow-seeing things, smelling things, appreciating things that the fast moving world misses…like one of the world’s most talented, accomplished musicians in the midst of DC’s Metro Station. Wonder if some of us “snails” with chronic illness would have stopped and listened to the music. I like to think so.

    Thanks Amy and Lynne for sharing this story.

  3. Lynn, can you put a clicky thing on this page like the real estate sites, so that you can send it to a friend??? I’ll try to do it the OTHER way….argh…thanks for sharing.

  4. Hey Kerry~ I would have totally stopped and listened to the music…unless I was in a hurry…to get to work…or to pick up my kids…or to get to an appointment. And that would fill my mind…so, I might just not pay attention. Hmmmmmm~
    Interesting study :)

  5. Hi Tara~ I don’t know how to put a thingie to send to a friend…I will ask my VA is she knows how to add that. I have seen that before. It is a cool idea! Thanks~ :)

  6. This is an amazing story. I particularly noticed how all the moms pushed their kids along ~ I’ve been trying to notice when I do that, and this was a great example of how kids notice/enjoy beautiful things in the middle of all the crazy.


    ps. here’s how you can easily add the send to a friend thing:

  7. Ohhhhh thanks Jackie~ I will check out the “tell and friend” thingie:)
    I love this story too!

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