A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
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 any recognition.
No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the top 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 theater in Boston and the seats average $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station
was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty?
For some reason I have never forgotten about this article ever since I first read it a while ago. You might think that I am trying to prove my "point" as an avid violin player, but that's not quite it, this just spoke out to me on the human nature as a whole. What is it that inspires us to be who were are as people? Our unique, style and ways are who creates us, right? Then why it is that we must forget (well, most of us...) the little things that make our world the indulgent place that we love? Perhaps our busy work schedules, you know, the fact that we have to reach our son to soccer practice, our daughter to ballet. Sure, our world is increasing the work load and we do have excuses, even I admit that. But maybe, just maybe, we should stop to smell the flowers. You know, while your in that car to reach your daughter to ballet, you can look our the window and...marvel at the beauty there is in the world.