Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Violinist in the Metro!

A note from peter@thewealthyattitude.com for Wednesday January 7 2009

Hello there all and welcome to the midweek point.

Here we are in the first full week of the new year and I've already chatted with some folks who have quit on their resolutions. Yes, I know the economy is in turmoil, yes in know the middle east conflict has an impact on us, and yes I also know that it doesn't really mean anything to us, unless we allow it. Leaders don't allow anything to take them from their resolve.

That's my message for the day.

Now, onto another significant note from our friend Alastair G in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He forwarded me this note and it struck a chord for me as I'm always listening for the great music of my life. I hope you are also. You'll like this.

A Violinist in the Metro

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 thousands 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 the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Think about that today.

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3 comments:

Dominick Blais said...

Outstanding! I don't believe I would have stopped myself. Espacially not in the morning.
-Dominick

Matt Clark said...

Great post, as I also look at my halfway point of the first week of the year I think to myself what can I do today to appreciate the view, the beauty all around. Thanks for the reminder Peter.

Make it great,
Matt
Work Less and Play More

Col @ life by muse said...

Beautiful. I love the last two paragraphs of the story ... definitely something to pay attention to in our own lives. Thank you!