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 recognition.
The exact analysis would betray the fact that this was a social experiment.
This is a real story. No one knew this at the time but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best 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 his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston and the seats averaged $100.
Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organised by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.
The question tested were:
* In a common place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Yes/no
* Do we stop to appreciate it? Yes/no
* Do we recognise the talent in an unexpected context? Yes/no
Point to Ponder:
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 in our life?