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Author Topic: The Violinist  (Read 2670 times)

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deftarchangel

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The Violinist
« on: January 28, 2009, 12:35:28 AM »

Sent to me by a friend of mine today.  I hadn't heard about this, but apparently it happened sometime in January '07.  Pretty incredible though.  I would have to honestly say that I probably would have been one of the people to be so oblivious to his playing as to pass him by.  Maybe I'll be a bit more careful the next time I come across a street performer playing music.  I may be privy to a masterful performance by a masterful artist, for free (minus any gratuity of course!  ;)).  Incidentally, I've attached a youtube clip of the performance at the bottom, for a better perspective.   Enjoy.


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, it was calculated that a thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed the musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried 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 and 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. Several other children did the same and all 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 US$3.5 million.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the tickets averaged $100.

This is a real 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 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?

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?


http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=hnOPu0_YWhw


 :)
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Ninny

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Re: The Violinist
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2009, 12:57:37 AM »

That is a pretty amazing story! I hope I'd stop to listen if I was in that situation! Let's try not to be too busy to miss the beauty around us!
Kathy  :)
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Dave in Tenn

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Re: The Violinist
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2009, 03:27:26 AM »

Moving post.  When I've been in those situations, it wasn't so much business as self-conciousness that overtook me.  Odd how the least busy and the least self-concious (the kids) were the ones to pay the most heed.  Nice to reflect on.
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Heb 10:32  But you must continue to remember those earlier days, how after you were enlightened you endured a hard and painful struggle.

Rene

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Re: The Violinist
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2009, 12:27:17 PM »


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?[/color]




Thought provoking.

I lived in the D.C. area for many years and rode the subway often.  I would have been just like the majority of people, rushing to catch my train to whereever I was trying to go.  I may have given a donation, but that would have depended on whether I had cash on me or not (who needs cash when we have debit cards? :D).

I have seen this same scenario in New York City often, i.e., talented musicians performing at the subway station.

Here's another way of looking at this situation.  Perhaps the "best musician in the world playing the best music ever written," received a little humility that day.  Surely, this was a humbling experience for him. ;)

René
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deftarchangel

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Re: The Violinist
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2009, 01:59:56 PM »



Here's another way of looking at this situation.  Perhaps the "best musician in the world playing the best music ever written," received a little humility that day.  Surely, this was a humbling experience for him. ;)





I had the same thoughts as well, René.  From selling out theatres for a hundred bucks a piece, to making roughly 30 bucks in a little under an hour (which is a pretty good wage for an hourly basis), I wondered what he felt or learned from the whole experience.  I suppose there is a lesson in here for everyone.

 :)
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musicman

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Re: The Violinist
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2009, 11:07:23 PM »

If I played the violin in the street, I believe that I would get a whole lot of attention.  I would definitely be arrested. . .not for disturbing the peace, but for mocking everything considered decent involving sound and humanity.  Even the little kid would tell me to put a sock in it.


I think that I would recognize that caliber of a musician (Joshua Bell).  Generally though, I'm the guy that sees 2 or 3 person bands with a synthesizer and realizes that the guy holding the trumpet or trombone isn't actually playing it.
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smeacham

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Re: The Violinist
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2009, 11:29:40 PM »

As a Violinist, I can affirm that a Violin played poorly sounds worse than just about anything.

Harmonica - that's where it's at.  Played well, it's one of the most beutiful and expressive instruments.  Played poorly, it still sounds decent.

Steve



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jg

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Re: The Violinist
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2009, 09:45:50 AM »

Wow, I would've loved to experience that in person!

I play the 5-string banjo, of which there are about 2 million jokes, most of which are true.  Bluegrass is my favorite music, but I listen to a lot of different styles.  I'm blown away by talent like I just saw on the youtube video.

Thanks for posting that. 

Joe
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