Stop and Hear the Music

This is awesome. Read the below blurb (quoted from an unknown source) and/or the full article in the Washington Post here. Then check out the video below. Don’t keep missing the little things in life that make it beautiful…

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 1,100 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, and 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 most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at 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 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?

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7 thoughts on “Stop and Hear the Music

  1. What an incredible story… I love that the main audience who were captivated were the children because it really is indicative of the power of being in the moment with that incredible music….

    • I totally agree…it’s so healthy to see through the eyes of children because they aren’t yet totally influenced by “time” and don’t go through life rushing from one thing to the next with a single-track focus. I think we are all guilty of this and it’s such an awesome reminder to slow it down and enjoy!

  2. Incredible!! I’m going to post this on my FB page this morning. Have a great day! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Zohreen says:

    Very cool story. Also love the video effect of how they stop and speed up the video depending on the pace of the music too ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Mona says:

    I read that quite some time ago and it is a timeless piece … definitely worth revisiting as I hurry about my life, not noticing the beauty around me. I have every Joshua Bell CD (I think) yet I wonder if I would stop to listen and watch as I rushed through my day.

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