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Posts Tagged ‘Joshua Bell’

Stop and Listen to The Music? – Not now, I’m busy…

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

In January of 2007, a young man in a baseball cap and sweatshirt was playing Bach pieces on his violin in the DC Metro Station. After 45 minutes had passed and about 2000 people had gone through, only about 6 people had paused to watch. A few dropped money, but didn’t stop. Several children tried to stop, but in every case, the parent hurried them along, depsite their heads being turned back watching.

This was actually an experiment, organized by the Washington Post, on “social perception, taste and people’s priorities”. The man was Joshua Bell, one of the best musician’s in the world, playing some of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin that was worth 3.5 million dollars.


The big and formal question goes something like this: Do we recognize talent, or perceive and appreciate beauty in an unexpected context? Obviously, in this case, not. This could be simply human nature and not indicative of our appreciation of beauty. Still, it makes you wonder….

Are many other questions we should and could ask ourselves regarding this event. You may be asking them right now….am I too busy, too self-absorbed, too distracted?

Very recently, on a w/e trip to Chicago, I stopped, watched, listened, danced and gave money – to a man with a beautiful singing voice and a boom box in the corridor from the airport to the L Line. It made me smile and stayed with me all day. Of course, it was a Saturday and I was not in a hurry….but, if I was, would I have stopped? I think so, but……?

Are we missing beauty and it’s effect on us in our hurried lives? Something to think about.

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