The story of a Metro Station free musical performance that teaches a great lesson of life
At a Metro Station, in Washington DC, on a cold New Year morning several years ago, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, about 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
After playing for about four 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.
Thereafter in another four minutes, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
At six minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
At ten minutes, a three 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 forty-five minutes, the musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. As at the time the man ended his performance he collected a total of $32.
After about one 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?
A few possible conclusions reached from this experiment could be:
• People don’t value free stuff.
• Environment plays a big part in how people place value on things.
• Context is everything; and the price of something can be construed!
•Children are more open to raw beauty than adults, because our filters are manmade.
•Stereotyping will always narrow the mind and distort vision and perception.
• How often do we misread a book by just looking at the cover?
• How much beauty do we not see or recognize because it’s not familiar or obvious or does not fit the mold?
• Your value is in you, not outside you!
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 in haste through life?”
As a matter of fact, life is short. Let us strive hard and make the best of it.
Share to spread the inherent message in this article