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The Violinist in the Metro

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Anonymous

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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 thousand 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 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 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 an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience 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?

cut-&-pasted from
http://www.utefans.net/message.php?id=761642
by
:face:
 

LL

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I'd say it's 95%+ an issue of available time. Trains and transport in general run on schedules, and everyone is either literally late or hedging against becoming late from the next unforeseen delay.

Had Joshua played in a park, a large crowd would almost certainly have gathered. I saw Leo Kottke the guitarist give an unannounced, impromptu performance in Kansas City years ago and that's what happened.
 

Hermit

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I'm crazy about Leo Kottke.
Only saw him twice. Once at NO Jazz Fest
and once at HOB. Terrific guitar player and song writer
and a really funny guy.
 

thomas james

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We lived in Crescent City in 1978 1979. A musician was passing through between concerts and gave a performance,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,a free performance, in the high school gymnasium. Thirty eight people showed up.


Maynard Ferguson!


I woulda stopped the trains for Joshua Bell/JSB.


Had it been Britney Spears,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


Concerto in E?


Other hand. In 1964, "WE", the student council at Compton Junior College tried to book Babs Striesand (bitch). She wanted $12 grand. We settled on Cal Tjader for 6.

Peepul,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Peepul who need peepul,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Are usually liberals.

Hollywood Playboy Club. 1963. Saw a skinny blind black kid play the harmonica,$5. Little Stevie Wonder. It was a freak show to watch how his handlers "handled" him.

In 1968. Saw Jose Feliciano. He had a brace of Greyhounds on stage. The three took repeated bows after the show.

In 1965. Shelleys Mannhole (sp) saw Connonball Adderly (sp) for a $2 cover charge, two drink minimum,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,smoke filled obscure bar.

In 1997. Olga Kern. Rachmaninov's 3rd. $175 x's 2. She wore a gown that she borrowed from a local patron. Her mother was babysitting her infant son in the family two room apartment in Moscow.
 
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Anonymous

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1) I used the Metro to get around Washington for several years. Especially during rush hours, if you miss one train, you don't have very long to wait for the next one. Not everyone's running so late he can't linger for a minute or two for something worthwhile.

2) When people are locked into habitual roles (like "commuter") they aren't at all "themselves" (if by this you're referencing how they are in other contexts, and wearing other clothes). Roles put people into autopilot mode, and pretty much render them oblivious to stimuli that aren't elements in whatever game they're playing until they're too grotesque to ignore. I think that's why streakers who disrupt the final rounds of golf tournaments are so hillarious -- the disparity between the officially sanctioned collective attitude and their caperings is 100 %.

:face:
 

LL

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Yak":0f4e49eq said:
Roles put people into autopilot mode, and pretty much render them oblivious to stimuli that aren't elements in whatever game they're playing until they're too grotesque to ignore.
Bingo. The, "Musn't be late for work!" role is one of the most deeply imprinted, too.
 
A

Anonymous

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Especially the one at the British Open who had

THE
19th
HOLE

painted on his back with an arrow pointing downward.

:face:
 
A

Anonymous

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Or how 'bout getting a frosty "THAT isn't FUNNY !" from a woman at a party who you know laughs at a lot grosser jokes than the one you just told with her girlfriends, in private. She's in a role, putting on a performance for her audience.

:face:
 

thomas james

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People stop and listen to the naked cowboy in New York play his guitar.

Yak's point?

People just don't know, today.

Who was that masked man?

I dunno, but, he left this silver bullet. Overture to William Tell?

May 2007. Cow Pie said, "You guys gotta listen to THIS 1812,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,they use real cannon,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,tj,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,turn up your subwoofer.
 
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