Saturday, April 21, 2007

Stop and Hear the Music!

Have you heard the cliche "stop and smell the roses?" I was never one to smell many flowers, having allergies and all. But I have stumbled upon a great story that will coin the phrase "stop and hear the music!"

Are we all too busy and self-involved? What are we running around for, aren't we busily passing the wonders of the world around us? I think these were the questions the Washington Post was trying to answer.

What happens when you take:
1) A world famous violinist who makes $1,000 per minute when performing
2) Put him in a busy subway dressed as a street performer
3) Have him play 43 minutes of the word's most amazing classical music on his $3.5 million dollar violin.

When 1,070 people will pass this performance what do you think will happen? Will crowds gather? Will they delay their commutes for a once in a life time treat? How much money will the musician make?

The sad answers are $32.17 and very few people seemed to care (only 7 people stopped for more than 1 minute).

The whole experiment was video taped and there is an excerpt in the article. While the article is long I recommend it, it's a great read especially to hear how the world famous musician Joshua Bell felt when a song would end and no one applauded. I guess people had something more important to do that hour with their lives (sarcasm). You could of course make an arguemnt about people not recognizing the "opportunity" presented to them (shout out to Kenny) but really isn't that the point, we are moving too fast to recognize all the potential around us. I know one fellow blogger who might have been on her blackberry the whole time :)

On many occasions while out for a walk, Shelby and I stop and watch the squirrels. It's a start!

Stop and hear the music!

It's painful to watch.

Here is the full article
Pearls Before Breakfast: Can one of the nation's great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour?

Also here is a link to the entire performance in the subway (audio only)
At the 14th minute there is a great version of Ave Maria


Dale said...


Wonderful article! I've got the audio on right now. I'm not sure what I would've done... I definitely would've thought "wow, this guy's pretty good" but not sure if I would've stopped. I like to think I would've.

Karen said...

that is insane!! thanks for posting, it'll definitely make me consider what's going on me for more than 15 seconds like i do now!

Martha said...

wow. that's fabulous. and makes me think perhaps I'll stop and listen to the music more often (both figuratively and literally)(there is one guy on a bridge walking to Reds games that is pretty good).

Martha said...

I thought of you and this post today...I saw more street performers than usual out (now, were there more out than last year, or did I just notice them?), including both a guitar player and a violinest on opposite corners in front of the school. I did pause. Though I did not stand there until he was done. nor did I give him some money (then again, I had no cash on me....)

Tom said...

Have you seen the guy by the ballpark who plays the Sax and 99% of the time he is playing "The Flintsones" theme!