Life TherapyTM
Psychotherapy & Coaching + Mindfulness & Meditation

Joshua Bell's experiment: Stop and Hear the Music

Do we know how to see beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? And do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
Read this awesome story about Joshua Bell, the nation’s most talented musician and his experiment. We hope this will point to you that beauty is all around us, we only need to look at it.

„A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin in that cold January morning. He opened with “Chaconne” from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D Minor. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, 1,100 people passed by through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by before something happened. Sixty-three people had already passed when, finally, there was a breakthrough of sorts. A middle-age man altered his gait for a split second, turning his head to notice that there seemed to be some guy playing music. Yes, the man kept walking, but it was something.
Things never got much better. In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run — for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace without stoping and listening. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

“It was a strange feeling, that people were actually, ah . . .” The word doesn’t come easily. “. . . ignoring me.”, said the violinist.

No one knew this at the station, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world! He had just played his violin worth $3.5 million dollars to 1.100 strangers at a station, and only few payed some attention to him.
This is from a man whose talents can command $1,000 a minute. Yet at the station he earned $32 dollars for 45 minutes playing a masterpiece. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

“Actually,that’s not so bad, considering. That’s 40 bucks an hour. I could make an okay living doing this, and I wouldn’t have to pay an agent.”, Bell said with a laugh.”

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 do people perceive beauty in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
Have we forgoten to listen? How many beautiful things have we missed because we were hurrying to work?
Beauty is all arounds us. You need to stop and hear the music!

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