This is not new, and I may be the last person to hear about it, but my mom just emailed me the story which I find verrry interesting. See here:
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 $100 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?
Enjoy life NOW .. it has an expiration date
* * * * * *
I Snope's it and it's true (story here), and it makes me think a couple of things:
1) Classical musical literacy in this country is all but nil (myself included). We don't know great from good when we hear it. Heck, I scarcely know great from bad! This is sad. I wish I'd had an education in classical music. I know it's not too late, of course. It's all priorities. But ... our priorities, our educational system ... so much is lost. As a culture, we put our time into the most mediocre forms of entertainment, things that dull our minds instead of exalting them. Will this be a footnote in some alien textbook on the ruin of human civilization on Earth?
2) I want to be the person who stops and listens, even if I don't recognize it as great. When you think about what kind of person you would like to be ... what do you see? Suppose you were writing the *ideal you* as a character in a novel. In this scenario, my *ideal Laini* would not only stop, but would end up engaging the violinist in conversation and finding out -- what!? gasp!! -- that he was Joshua Bell, who even I have heard of. It would be meaningful. It would be cool. It would be a story I could tell forever, how I was the *only* person who stopped to listen that day Joshua Bell played incognito in the subway station. If I were *ideal Laini* I would have a ton of anecdotes like that, because I would be alert to life, I would be engaged.
Wouldn't you like to be that person? How to be that person? Think about it. Think about being *ideal you.*
3. I want to listen to more classical music. I want Clementine to listen to more classical music. Tonight Jim's beginning guitar class had a concert, and she was so engaged. It's awesome. She just drinks up live music. Her face is like light. More. More more more. Lucky to live in a city with music everywhere, free or cheap, and for all ages. Portland, I [heart] you.