Friday, 30 January 2009

The violinist

Dear everyone,

I hope you have lovely Fridays. This morning I received a newsletter from a Rabbi I admire in New York. It contained the following article and I really wanted to share it with you because I think it is amazing and reminded me of the importance of casting judgements aside and being ready to find beauty in the mundane.

Hope you enjoy it,



'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 thousands 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. 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.'


Pearl said...

oh vanessa,

that is SO beautiful. i've received that before in an e-mail too, and this entry post just reminded me again of it.



whenever i come to your blog, it's like the time for me to take a rest and relish in beauty. you are a beautiful person who writes absolutely intricate emotions and descriptions, and i'm SO glad to have met you through the blogaverse :).

Nadia said...

I loved that post! We are all so caught up in our own worries and stresses that we never take the time to pause and reflect on the beauty that is life. I know that I have been trying to observe more instead of just rushing by it all. Thanks for sharing that story. Loved it!

Anonymous said...

Cool. :) Thanks for the optimism. I could use it today.

Pearl said...

oh dear. ohhhhh dear.
i just read your comment on my pound cake post.

oh lovely - how i adore thee.

that was seriously the nicest comment anyone's ever left me. EVER.

*tears up*

<3 from san diego. and you know what? i'm gonna go ahead and represent taiwan too, for that matter - cause you deserve it! ha!

Vanessa said...

Thanks for all your comments... you are all wonderful!

emlizalmo said...

My sister just sent this to me and I loved it. Isn't it the truth? Too busy...we are simply too busy. I love those moments when my life seems to slow down and I can savor it. I think we constantly need to "prune". Take things out of our schedule that are unnecessary so that we can flourish.

Alex Rushmer said...

What a wonderful story. Brightened up the snow covered morning.

pixen said...

Oh wow, Joshua Bell is one of my favourite Violinist! I wished I can see him played! You bet I would stand there listen to him...without knowing it was him :-D I'm very bad with face recognition. I once listened to a girl playing with a electronic violin until finished and gave her a couple of Euros. She's very good :-)