Wednesday, September 28, 2011




In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 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. 

About 4 minutes later:

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

At 6 minutes:

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

At 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 the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 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.

After 1 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 Bellone 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 theatre 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?

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 as we rush through life?

Enjoy life NOW... it has an expiration date!




  1. thoughtful post!

    Warm Aloha from Waikiki;

    Comfort Spiral

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  2. How many MOMENTS of Brilliance do we pass by?



    Thanks Sis!

  3. I always stop to listen. Love this story.

  4. Amazing. But the truth is, a subway station is a place where people go to get to somewhere else. There is somewhere they have to be. Kids don't feel that urgency.

    Had he played in a park on a Sunday afternoon, I'll bet he'd have had a much different response. People would have been in the mindset to actually listen as they had no deeds to do, no promises to keep ...

  5. Lynn, I tend to rush sometimes--I need to slow down! This was a good reminder for me.


    Jeanie-- I agree- but I think that's the point--we are always rushing here and there, and even when we come across something "Out of the Ordinary"--we seldom notice". I'm trying to keep my eyes peeled. I, not having kids could not help but wonder how you keep their minds off toys and Happy Meals! :-)

  6. For well played Bach anything else I had to get to could wait.

  7. I think I would have stopped what I was dong for that one!


    Thanks for your friendship- Friend!


  8. How many things are we missing as we rush through life?
    A great question. I suspect the answer is we miss an awful lot, more than we probably care to think of.

  9. Petty-- That really got me to thinking as well! We probably miss most of it don't you think? I mean the REALLY important things in the end?

    Thanks for the Comment!


  10. It's amazing what we don't have time to notice! As you said, how many other things do we hurry past. How many parents push the children forward as they notice something beautiful?

    I did a similar post recently, only mine was children noticing the spectacular everyday things.


Incredibly smart relies: