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A thought for the new year

pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

A thought for the new year

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold Jan. morning.He played 6 Bach pieces for about 45 mins. Since it was rush hour, it was estimated that thousands of people went through the station.3 mins. went by and a middle-aged man noticed him. Slowing his pace he stopped for a few secs. and then hurried on.
A minute later, the violinist got his first dollar tip - a woman threw money in the till but didn't stop.
A few minutes later, someone leaned on the wall to listen to him, but then started to walk again.
The one who paid him most attention was a 3 yr. old boy. His mother pulled him away, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally he was pulled away but he kept turning his head. Several other children did the same as they passed. All the parents forced them to move on.
in the 45 mins, the violinist played, only 6 people stayed for a while. About 20 gave money but contd. to walk on. He collected $32.Wheb he finished and silence took over, no one noticed. No-one applauded. nor was there any recognition.
No-one knew but this was the musician 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.
2 days before his playing in the subway, the theatre had sold out in Boston - seats av. $100.
This is a real story. The playing in the subway was organised by the Washington Post as an experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.
In an commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour; Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognise the talent in an unexpected context?
A possible conclusion 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?
10 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: A thought for the new year

If that is true (don't believe everything you read on the web), it's probably not least partly because most people just don't like classical music. Presumably the pieces he played were these which, whilst certainly being exciting if you enjoy classical music, would have probably been seen as exceedingly boring to people who don't like classical music owing to the nature of the pieces (solo so no distinct melody and accompaniment, or perhaps not even a distinct melody at all).
Community Veteran
Posts: 19,099
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Registered: 31-08-2007

Re: A thought for the new year

When I can think of something witty to say I'll come Back.
Hope you are feeling better Pierre.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: A thought for the new year

If you filled the rush hour tubes with classical/opera music lovers, and took them to the same situation , would they all have stopped and listened in rapture, and thrown $10 bills.... or would they also have moved on, and got on with their journey/life as "normal people" were doing?
Likewise, if the musician had been Louis Armstrong or Jerry Lee Lewis, would those same classical/opera lovers done exactly the same thing as the "normal people"  ? Roll eyes
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: A thought for the new year

@ Anotherone
I was waiting for Sandra Or Josie to pop up and say you dont have a dog and Bach  Grin Grin
N/A

Re: A thought for the new year

It sounds pretty realistic to me. Not sure that it is due to the genre though - probably because people couldn't be bothered (or didn't want to donate money). The latter is particularly odd because obviously thousands of people are perfectly willing to pay high prices for attending a concert. I have to admit that I don't donate  to street artists either so I'm just as bad really.  My view is that if I want to listen to music then I will make my own arrangements but then I get irked by musak in supermarkets and other shops too  Angry   (What a GOW I am today).
The taste and perception test reminds me of these awful artists - Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst etc who knock out such rubbish and people pay thousands to buy the work and to view it. I can't imagine why anyone would want to have the stuff in the house, let alone pay good money for it, but clearly there are others who appreciate it as a thing of beauty.
Nowt so queer as folk I say - we oop north have got a bit more nous (hopefully).
(You beat me to it).
Moderator
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Posts: 17,255
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Registered: 11-01-2008

Re: A thought for the new year

I have never stopped to listen to a busker on the tube for 2 main reasons:
1) I want to get out of there as quickly as possible as I'm either heading to the office or trying to make the train - I'd rather miss a few mins and have an extra 1/2 hour at home.
And I'll say it - assuming I get on the right train  Wink
2) I'm normally plugged into my iPod listening to what I want to listen to.
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Community Veteran
Posts: 19,099
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Registered: 31-08-2007

Re: A thought for the new year

I don't donate to street artists in the tube either, mainly because I don't use the tube these days, because I can't afford the train fare to London any more, or the fuel to drive there, not that I'd drive there, parking is so dodgey, I've heard so many horror stories about people getting towed.
@pierre
lol, you are obviously starting to feel better Smiley
Community Veteran
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: A thought for the new year

Quote from: adiewoo
I have never stopped to listen to a busker on the tube for 2 main reasons:

I'm the same on both counts, which has made me think... I wonder what it'd be like if buskers actually performed on platforms rather than in corridors? Most tube trains (with the exception of the Buckinghamshire end of the Metropolitan line) run very frequently, so even if people didn't like the music they'd never have to put up with it for more than a few minutes... granted, it wouldn't be a good idea at peak times in some stations when they can become absolutely packed, but I think it's something that could work quite well all the same.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 10-08-2007

Re: A thought for the new year

Quote from: Be3G
If that is true (don't believe everything you read on the web),

It is true and happened in January 2008. It was arranged by journalist Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post. The story "Pearls Before Breakfast" won him a Pulitzer prize.
techguy
Grafter
Posts: 2,540
Registered: 12-09-2008

Re: A thought for the new year

Its probably more to do with envronment Pierre, while I've never been to the States, if their train stations are anything like ours I would not wsh to hang around (and I do love classical music in addition to many other forms too)
P.S. I gather you were a little unwell, hope you are on the mend, all the best.