Joshua Bell, Street Musician

The people at the Washington Post Magazine decided to conduct an experiment: They had one of the world’s leading violinists set up as a street performer at the entrance to a Washington, D.C., Metro station, and start playing his violin. Would people notice? Would he be showered with money? Would there be a riot?

Um, no.

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.

The article, by Post staff writer Gene Weingarten, is awesome. Highly recommended: Pearls Before Breakfast.

One Response to “Joshua Bell, Street Musician”

  1. knarlyknight Says:

    ” Only then do you see it: He is the one who is real. They are the ghosts.”

    “If we can’t take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that — then what else are we missing?”

    “Yeah, other people just were not getting it. It just wasn’t registering. That was baffling to me.”

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