Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My Aunt recently sent me an email forward...not something I usually pay attention to but this one was different. It spoke of perception and how we all need to just stop and enjoy the beauty in our lives. Here is what it said...

Perception....Something To Think About.

In   Washington , DC , at  a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this 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.

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 $200 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?

1 comment:

  1. What an incredible story! Something to think about, for sure. Thanks for sharing. :)



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