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  1. #1

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    Default Do you notice your environment?

    Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

    4 minutes later:

    The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk..

    6 minutes:

    A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

    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 all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

    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.

    1 hour:

    He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition..

    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.

    This is a true 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 people's priorities.

    The questions raised:

    *In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

    *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?

    How many special persons pass us by and we do not MAKE ANY EFFORT TO get to know them?

  2. #2
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    Default

    Very interesting. I've stopped to listen to street musicians playing a varity of instruments some were quite good others, well, let's just say they were panhandling.

  3. #3

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    Very interesting read!! Thanks for posting this!!


    This is along the same grain as another idea...

    Many people take vacations, and drive by/past a lot of the attractions. For instance, people will drive through Yellowstone Park. You can see, and actually take in, FAR more, walking in 10 minutes, than you could driving through the park for hours.
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  4. #4

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    Default Hmm

    Interesting read, but people gotta get to work. It's how we do things like pay rent and put food on the table for our families.

    Did they bother to re-test on a warm weekend afternoon?

    Chris

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    I love buskers. They work for their money unlike beggars. I've heard some incredible musicians in subways and at bus terminals. The best guy I ever heard was also playing violin at the seabus terminal in Vancouver BC. He attracted a crowd but it was a weekend afternoon. He was very talented and played beautifully. Lots of applause when he was done a piece.
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    I agree, but in America we do take things at a faster pace then other countries. Its just the way we are.
    I am one who tends to think that a lot of people miss out on the little things in life that are very cool, but normally people are too busy/blinded by their day they forget to see these things or notice them.

    I really do enjoy watching/hearing people play outside like that. One place I really like is when I'm in Chicago down in the park by the lake (forgot the name of it). Last time I got to hear a didgeridoo (spelling???) a guy was playing to some classical back up music. Now its not something that I would pay to hear, but it was interesting nonetheless.
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    He's pretty good, that Mr. Bell. My wife keeps programs sometimes, I can't recall if he played any Bach.

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    I have one of Bell's live CDs and I have to admit his talent is mesmerizing.
    I'd hate to think I could pass talent like that without even noticing or hearing.
    I'm always in a rush so I'd probably walk by without second thought like most did.

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    We as a people seem to be one of the least observant nations on earth or so it seems to me. I may not have recognized the fellow playing or that the violin was a 3 mill + instrument and almost certainly not the piece being played, but I would without a doubt have noticed the security folks observing him playing. I used to tell people while teaching classes on safety and how to protect yourself the single most important thing you can do for yourself is always be aware of your surroundings, you can avoid most problems before they occur this way.

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    Well, I just pulled off the impossible by doing a double-blind comparison all by myself, purely by virtue of the fact that I completely and stupidly forgot what I did last. I guess that getting old does have its advantages after all :D

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    $32 dollars and hour. thats not really that bad. :D
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  11. #11

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    That is interesting...but not very surprising. Many people do not recognize talent or are too wrapped up in their own world. In a way this is one of the reasons the Ancient Greeks had their Gods disguise themselves and visit mortals to test them (no I'm not refering to those Gods that had affairs with mortal women).

    The Greeks were not alone. Many other cultures feature stories about disguised divinities visiting as humble men and women. And, often with results not unlike what we see above.

    Others tell us that we should see something in 'everyone' and take NONE for granted! That's the real lesson-which if we don't learn, we gradually lose our humanity. But how many of us can and do do that!

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 03-29-2010 at 04:43 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post
    That is interesting...but not very surprising. Many people do not recognize talent or are too wrapped up in their own world. In a way this is one of the reasons the Ancient Greeks had their Gods disguise themselves and visit mortals to test them (no I'm not refering to those Gods that had affairs with mortal women).

    The Greeks were not alone. Many other cultures feature stories about disguised divinities visiting as humble men and women. And, often with results not unlike what we see above.

    Others tell us that we should see something in 'everyone' and take NONE for granted! That's the real lesson-which if we don't learn, we gradually lose our humanity. But how many of us can and do do that!

    cnh
    Enough that become extremist terrorists who kill innocent people and keep the world in a constant state of war. Lil' Kim, bin Laden, the Talaban, Sadam, etc, etc . . .

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    Heard this before; wouldn't doubt for a minute I was one of the people who rushed by...maybe I was one of the folks who stopped for a second or dropped some cash. I appreciate musical talent, but when I'm on my way to work, I'm usually on a mission~

    definitely something to reflect on...
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    *dupe post*
    Last edited by TNRabbit; 03-29-2010 at 12:30 PM.
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    I once listened for about 30 min to an old guy in a floppy hat playing incredible covers of Jimmy Buffet songs on an old guitar, about 3 blocks down from Magaritaville in New Orleans. It was during Jazz Fest. There was a reason they sounded just like Jimmy does the songs!
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    I almost always stop to listen to street musicians to see if they are any good. Most of the time no, but there are a few guys who always play at the same place in Seattle who are pretty decent.

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