Monday, January 5, 2009

Beautiful story

Here is a wonderful story that's doing the email rounds. I'm sharing this because this is what my blog is all about. So here it is:

An ear to the ground ?

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and startedto play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He playedsix Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time,since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand ofpeople went through the station, most of them on their wayto work.Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed therewas musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for afew seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.A minute later, the violinist received his first dollartip: a woman threw the money in the till and withoutstopping continued to walk.A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall tolisten to him, but the man looked at his watch and startedto 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 tolook at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard andthe child continued to walk turning his head all the time.This action was repeated by several other children. All theparents, without exception, forced them to move on.In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 peoplestopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money butcontinued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. Whenhe finished playing and silence took over, no one noticedit. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one ofthe best musicians in the world. He played one of the mostintricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5million dollars.Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell soldout at a theatre 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 a 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 inan unexpected context?One of the possible conclusions from this experience couldbe:If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of thebest musicians in the world playing the best music everwritten, how many other things are we missing?