Notice Anything?

S'cuse me while I bust a move. Union Station 5 of 5
Creative Commons License photo credit: ?o??ƒx™

Washington, DC, Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes, a middle aged man noticed there was a musican playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried to meet his schedule…

4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and without stopping continued to walk.

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

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 all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

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.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one 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 theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true 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 people’s priorities. The questions raised: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? 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?

What have you noticed anything lately?
Did you stop and enjoy it?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Positively Present September 8, 2009, 12:02 pm

    Wow, this is so interesting! I’ve never heard of this story before even though I’m a DC native. I love the picture you’ve put with this post. How I wish the Metro looked like that! Haha.
    .-= Positively Present´s last post…the difference between happy and not unhappy =-.

  • Diana September 8, 2009, 12:24 pm

    Ah, the street musician issue. I understand the passersby because I have the same reaction. Is this about music at all? Or is it about fear? Fear that we could become like them?

    Going into a store the other morning, there was a man playing a guitar, presumably for handouts. I went through a different door to avoid him. Other people sit on benches at this store on different mornings and sit facing your arrival, deciding whom to ask for spare change. I park elsewhere when they are there. I gave money one morning before I realized I had been spotted, and I couldn’t get out of it.

    Many of these people are homeless, which creates fear in me. Many of these people are mentally unstable, which also creates fear in me.

    I think Mr. Bell’s music was not acknowledged because of our prejudice against and feelings of helplessness about the homeless and the emotionally unstable. We don’t want to identify with these people so we ignore them. Ignoring the music is a shame. Ignoring the person is a tragedy.
    .-= Diana´s last post…Working with negative space in life =-.

  • Caroline September 8, 2009, 1:23 pm

    WOW!! Now you really got me thinking today. What an incredible experiment. I bet I miss a lot. Too much in a hurry…or thinking about something…or worrying… How much have I missed? This experiment proves that present moment living allows us to perceive the beautiful moments in life that tend to whiz by when we are “some place else.”
    .-= Caroline´s last post…Celebrate your body – water park edition =-.

  • Avani Mehta September 8, 2009, 1:45 pm

    I never get tired of reading this story. The message is so powerful. I think a lot of times we notice beauty but don’t stop enough to enjoy it – unless we have scheduled for it 😉 I recently went out in rain on a whim to just enjoy the drizzle and get drenched … it was wonderful. But there are so many times I let it pass away …. makes me think what if I grab each opportunity I get to enjoy and appreciate.
    .-= Avani Mehta´s last post…Life Lessons From My Running Experiences – Part I =-.

  • Keith September 8, 2009, 1:46 pm

    Hey Tess!

    Man, I have been the passerby before without a doubt. In fact I suppose I was that way a lot just a few years ago. Thankfully, I have learned to appreciate beauty around me.

    I did my own little “experiment” not long ago. I was driving very early in the morning and the sun was just beginning to rise. When it did, it was one of the most awesome, stunningly beautiful sun rises I have ever seen. The clouds, the colors were absolutely amazing and beyond description. I had just stopped at a traffic light and was staring in amazement, lamenting that I did not have my camera with me, when I began to notice the other cars around me. I looked from car to car to see if anyone else was noticing this incredible sight. I saw two people in animated cell phone conversations, one lady hurriedly applying make-up, and still another staring hypnotically at the traffic light. I resisted the urge to begin blaring my horn and point and say “Look! Look at it!” The light changed and away we all went.

    I drove away too, thankful I had stopped to notice a sunrise that will never be repeated in just that way ever again.
    .-= Keith´s last post…Your Mind The Helm, Your Thoughts The Rudder =-.

  • Jan Lundy September 8, 2009, 1:57 pm

    Wonderful, just wonderful, Tess. Yes, today I took time to really really notice what was happening around me. I was sitting in the DMV (unexpectedly, lost my license, ugh) and had to sit and sit and wait and wait. I turned my waiting time into really watching the people. About 1/3 were so antsy they couldn’t sit still, kept wiggling, shifting, bobbing a foot or leg up and down. About 1/3 looked dazed, like zombies, nobody home. The rest were relating and friendly to the person next to them. I found myself appreciating and sinking into compassion for each of these folks who I knew (like me) really didn’t want to be sitting there for an hour or so. Especially me, cuz I had run out of coffee. (LOL) So truly looking more deeply opened my heart and made the whole episode more enjoyable…
    .-= Jan Lundy´s last post…Tranquility Tuesday =-.

  • Kristie Ryan September 8, 2009, 2:12 pm

    What a great story, but sad at the same time. I like to think I would stop and listen to the beauty of the music, but then again I myself get distracted quite often. What an interesting experiment to think about. Thank you for posting this!

  • Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord September 8, 2009, 3:48 pm

    Tess, this reminds me of a story my friend told me about when she lived in Boston. She used to walk the same way to college every day from her apartment. Each day, she saw a man who appeared to be homeless and have mental trouble. From the first time she passed him, she had a funny feeling about him. Not funny as in “I’m in danger,” but funny as in there was something she couldn’t put her finger on.
    Anyhow, one weekend my friend’s mother visited her. Her mom was extremely sixth-sensitive and could hear and see angels. As the two of them went out walking, they passed the man on the street who my friend saw each day, prompting my friend to tell her mother about the funny feeling she got whenever she saw him. Her mom looked at her and said, “That’s because he’s an angel, dear.” She went on to explain that sometimes angels take on human form to help us learn to expand our hearts and minds.
    Since then, I’ve never forgotten that there are angels among us… If only we let ourselves stop and see them.
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last post…Our Saviors (Quote from Richard Bach) =-.

  • Barbara Swafford September 8, 2009, 4:21 pm

    Hi Tess,

    What a fascinating experiment. As I was reading it I tried to figure out what I would have done. If I wasn’t in a hurry , I would probably stop and listen and maybe make a donation. However, if I felt under the gun because of pressures in life, I would notice the music, but keep walking. Gosh, just typing that, made me stop and think I really do need to slow down and pay attention to that which I encounter.

    Thank you for an eye opening, thought provoking post.
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last post…Numbers – We Can’t Escape From Them =-.

  • Walter September 8, 2009, 5:32 pm

    I felt guilty reading your story above. Here I am always complaining about the my ragged life unaware of the beauty that surrounds my being.

    Thanks for reminding me. 🙂

  • Daphne @ Joyful Days September 8, 2009, 5:50 pm


    If I were on my way to work, I’d probably have rushed past too. If on a personal errand though, I wonder if I would have stopped. Most buskers play atrocious music, but the good ones, sometimes I wish I could just sit on the floor and listen yet it’s so ‘not done’, you know? Thanks for this reminder to take pauses in life, especially to witness beauty.
    .-= Daphne @ Joyful Days´s last post…How Original is Your Faith? =-.

  • Karl Staib - Work Happy Now September 8, 2009, 6:58 pm

    I hate to admit it, but I miss things all the time. I miss a nice moment between a mother and son at the airport. I miss the butterfly landing on my car while I eat lunch. I get too wrapped up in my thoughts. I know we can’t appreciate it all. We will miss some stuff, but I’ve been guilty of too much internal thought instead of appreciating what is.

    I’ve been practicing my awareness. Really trying to stay in the moment and appreciate the small things. The laugh of a co-worker, my breath, the crickets, the soft wave of a tree in the wind. When my thoughts go back to some “worry,” I try to encourage it back to the present and find the beauty in where I am.
    .-= Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s last post…Career Renegade Interview =-.

  • Robin September 9, 2009, 1:15 am

    Hi there Tess – I think it is understandable that people didn’t stop to listen, – if I was in town at that time in winter it would be because I had to get somewhere, and I wouldn’t stop either.

    As it happens, I have a lifestyle where in most cases I can and do have time to stop for something interesting – but I’m rarely in the city early on a winter’s morning! Without a doubt, many people could benefit if they set their lives up so they could take an interest in something unexpected crossing their path – most people I know do.
    .-= Robin´s last post…Love Gives Us Life =-.

  • Tess September 9, 2009, 6:09 am

    Positively Present,
    I think there are tons of stories out there we don’t know about and it’s one reason the internet is so amazing and fun! I’ve not been to DC and the Metro for about 6 years but sure had fun when I was there!

    I never thought of it being tied to fear. Silly me! I always throw money in and stop if I like what the person is doing. It pleases me to be able to be generous and to see them smile. You make a very good point.

    I agree present moment living allows us to see and experience the lovely moments in life. Without them our world is in black and white. Can you imagine all black and white flowers? Yuk. My commitment is to be more observant in the present moment!

    Yes I agree rain, wind, sun…let it drench me to my soul! I only want to be in the moment experiencing life where it takes me. The thing that stops me is letting go of control! I’ve gotten a lot better but with mindfulness… a lot better! It seems when I’m upset or without inner peace I’ve steped out, literally!

    You’re an example for all and it would have been funny and poignant to honk and point. How about climbing to the top of your car with a megaphone and broadcast it! A little humor always allows keeps me from judging the people around me in a different space. Also I realize I’m one with all…I’ve been in the position on my phone, applying make up etc and missing out as well.

    I’ve been there as well. I always go prepared to wait. Ugh. It’s not a very friendly place to be and we’re all giving off vibes of “I don’t want to be here, please hurry! I love the way you took the opportunity to open your heart. Now can they please begin serving coffee!

    I’m distracted much of the time as well. I found the story interesting enough to post and the amazing part is the price of the tickets! Shows it’s all a matter of perception doesn’t it?

    Slowing down and paying attention to what we encounter is a good thing for all of us. I believe the world would be a much friendlier place. Also it shows we all have a story, doesn’t it?

    No need to feel guilty…it’s wasted energy. Just get out there, begin noticing and start smiling. Yeah!

    It’s not done but why? If we only pass with a wink and a smile it’s enough. Adding a buck or two would be icing on the cake. The streets would probably get crowded and that would add another problem!

    Nobody is perfect at this unless one is an enilghtened master. I don’t see too many around, you? So keep on keepin on cuz we’re all in this together…one thought, awareness and moment of beauty at a time.

    I agree with winter. I’d be zooming right in for warmth! Except maybe Christmas time or New Year’s Eve. Those times in the snow are magical. I agree most people I hang with do enjoy and notice. Like attracts like right?

  • Zeenat(Positive Provocations} September 9, 2009, 9:52 am

    Hi Tess,
    What a wonderful and interesting experiment! Its so true….so much beauty and talent all around us..but we just pass it by, cause life’s schedules seem far more important. The rat race seems to take over our sense of “wonder”. The wonder a child has….for how he can play with one small piece of paper for hours on end ..and do it so attentively and enjoy every second of it.
    For me personally, i have rediscovered wonder and beauty with birth of my daughter. Whenever i see she’s noticing something…i try to notice it too..and most of the time she has noticed things i wouldn’t have noticed on my own. So she is my wonder guide.
    I loved Megans comment. I do truly believe we are all surrounded by angels, and we just need to take the time to open our minds and hearts to see them. I would personally like to believe all people who have a positive impact on our lives as Angels. So that means all my darling blogging buddies who write such beautiful and motivating words everyday are My God Sent Angels. And Tess, Youre at the top of that Angel list 🙂
    Lots of love.
    .-= Zeenat(Positive Provocations}´s last post…Self Realization =-.

  • Lisa September 9, 2009, 10:31 am

    WOW. How utterly fascinating… and bravo to the folks who thought up this experiment. The first thing that comes to my mind about this is how literally tuned out we are, not only to what happens around us, but also tuned out from ourselves… It reflects, similarly to what others said, a lack of grabbing the moments that delight us before they pass, taking the world and ourselves for granted. It’s so easy to get caught up in the grind, and like robots, every one is in such a hurry these days~ I want to live intentionally, allowing moments like these to slow me down and savor. Thanks for the reminder.
    .-= Lisa´s last post…Creativity= taking “rest steps.” =-.

  • Peggy September 9, 2009, 10:55 am

    One time I was in the London Underground, waiting for a train, heading somewhere with my girls and we stopped because this guy was jamming on his guitar – like he was warming up for a gig later that night. In the Underground, we danced. We missed the first train, but we knew there’d be another. I gave my girls a few pounds to drop in his guitar case. And somewhere in my cabinet of old photos, I captured the moment on film.

    Too often I’m focused on where I need to be or I’m in a hurry to get someplace else. On that particular night in London, I stopped…and because I stopped, so did my girls…and we rocked out until we caught our train.
    .-= Peggy´s last post…The Ice Queen =-.

  • Jannie Funster September 9, 2009, 11:07 am

    I’d be the one giving him kudos and dancing. As I know you would, Bold & Beautiful Tess.

    Today I noticed some green growing in our current jungle of a backyard which has not been watered at all this year ’cause it’s kind of in flux with some work being done out there. A little patch of green among the yellow since the rain last week. Cute. Hopeful.

    I also noticed how extra cute my kid is in her pony tail, now that she has bangs.

    And I noticed how my buttocks, tho not quite as in shape as they have been (and will be again!) are really things of immense wonderment and divine creation.
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last post…What To Do When The Power Goes Out =-.

  • Stacey Shipman September 9, 2009, 11:47 am

    This is a great story that I haven’t heard before. But a topic I’ve been thinking about A LOT lately – life experiences and whether or not we have them. We’re moving so fast!

    Last week I was in Boston with my niece, nephew and sister and we happened upon a street performer. I wish I got a picture. He was sitting on a box, playing banjo, with a kazoo in his mouth. On his feet with the sticks of a Xylophone, xylophone in front of him, perfectly placed away from his feet/sticks, and his feet rested on a tambourine. It was funny and amazing all at the same time. The creativity, boldness and determination of this young man to entertain the city of Boston. We stopped, he played a song for us, we gave him some $$ as a thank you. I will always remember it and the smile he put on my face.
    .-= Stacey Shipman´s last post…Yoga: True or False =-.

  • Patricia September 9, 2009, 4:04 pm

    Loved the story Tess, I had not heard it before and I have been known to go out of my way to toss a coin or two in a musician’s case even when in a hurry.

    In Bath, England a just awful quitar player was going on and on….the benches were full of folks listening and giving money. When I had finished lunch 2 trumpet players were playing with such beauty and practice and no bench space was available. No one was putting any money in the case…so I dropped in 6 pounds in coins to look like more, went into a store and then waited for the bus pick up still listening to their stunning concert.

    I will give a beggar in the park my last dollar…..and everyone a blessing. But do not ask for money while I am on my 5 mile walk in the morning – that is my time for conversation with God – I am at prayer. I do not respond vocally just with a smile.

    My children were often embarrassed by my joy in music. In manikins, actors posing on a street corner – I find so much joy when folks read what I write and comment.

    I am terrible about earning the money I give away….I am a failure still in that department. 🙂
    .-= Patricia´s last post…Book Review: The Science of Passion; The Art of Romance ~Ken Tanner =-.

  • John September 9, 2009, 4:22 pm

    Really amazing story, Tess. Actually what I haven’t taken notice of is how precious life is. I recently got sick with a cold, and it’s always around this time that I feel as if life is so much more than just sitting on the computer or taking a nap or waiting for the next day to come. We don’t realize that life is beautiful and is meant to be enjoyed.
    .-= John´s last post…20 Quotes That are Simply Motivating =-.

  • Wilma Ham September 9, 2009, 9:41 pm

    Oh Tess, I wish I wish I could say I would have and I can’t say that.
    Not yet anyway, there is so much beauty I still do not see.
    I am working on minimilizing the distraction though, and that at least is a start.
    Great reminder and you have to love the kids for noticing and thank them.
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last post…Forget unfair and luck, integrity is what counts. =-.

  • Mary B Sheffield September 10, 2009, 3:53 am

    Hi Tess,
    This is very interesting ! I have a guilty pleasure of watching too much !
    It drives my husband nuts ! 🙂 He figures maybe an attention problem or nosey.
    Not me I just love to watch and listen. Just recently we went to see our daughter at college. As we were walking across campus you could hear a great mix match of music . Of course I was drawn . It was probley 7 or 8 kids
    w/ bongos guitars and shakers. They were fantastic !! All getting aquanted in their first week of school by the power of music. How awesome !
    Maybe some day I will teach my husband to stop and see how much he misses in a rush all of the time ! Lifes stresses are high but I have developed
    an theory to live by : Will it really make a difference next week Tuesday ?
    Which means if the kids dont do their home work well yes it matters . If one of our children do not mow right as they get out of school but do have it done
    in a timely manner . No it will not matter. As long as it gets done. It helps to
    put into prospective what is worth fighting over .
    Just an easy going lolly gagger ! 🙂
    Mary B

  • Peggy September 10, 2009, 6:20 am

    PS: Tess – I just started reading your book last night. I LOVE IT. My heart and brain are soaring! I’m recommending this book to EVERYONE I know (and don’t know!)

    .-= Peggy´s last post…Desire in Action =-.

  • Hilary September 10, 2009, 6:31 am

    Hi Tess .. I had heard this incredible story before – he must be a believer in protection, equally it is only a “thing” perhaps $3.5m worth – but Megan’s Angel was around .. !!

    If one stops to listen .. so often there are people around – talking and not listening, or just general street, station, exhaust fumes etc etc noise (& now smoke .. ) .. that it is difficult to switch off and actually listen. I’m so unmusical I’d have diffculty realising if it was good, or excellent – I’m not sure I’d know if it was that bad (some obviously yes!) …

    and we’re usually in a rush somewhere – minutes tend not to be spare .. they should be – today is a lovely sunny day and I’ll walk back down and enjoy the sun, flowers, plants etc while I can …

    I loved Megan’s comment about Angels – interesting ..

    Thanks – Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Letters
    .-= Hilary´s last post…Nuts with Peepholes, a name for talking about … =-.

  • Tess September 10, 2009, 7:35 am

    Yes children are our wonder guides. What a marvelous way to put it. I’m going to see my 9 month old grandson tomorrow and I can’t wait. I get to watch and join in his wonder. I alos like the way you view positive people as angels. I think that is a great idea and will join with you in it. I’m honored to be at the top of you list! How fun is that? Just call me the fun one:) And seriously when you think about it positive people are out there doing the work it takes to connect and heal the world. Thanks for giving me such high reguard. I’m sending it right back at you!

    I love what you say…I want to live intentionally allowing moments like these to slow me down and savor. I refuse to be a robot in a hurry. It really doens’t help us get there any faster or if we do we are bland and stressed when we arrive. No sense living like that when there is beauty all around us.

    That’s one of the most beautiful moments for a family to remember. I can just see it being filmed in slow motion. I’m wondering if you could get the photo and frame it as a wonderful reminder to live in the moment with wonder. A precious gift you gave to all four of you that day!

    You are so hilarious…first the serious the yellow patch and then the wonder of the pony tail and then the humorous buttocks. I woke up in a serious mood today and you’ve just given met the opportunity to change it with your humor. Thanks!

    I’m so happy to know you generous woman! I know you’re out there every day making people smile and happy with your generosity while enjoying music.
    It’s also nice that you keep your walking time between you and God. That’s called gifting yourself! I’m not sure what your last line means but your anything but a failure in my eyes. Enjoy the beauty of the day Patricia.

    Sounds like you and your family received a wonderful gift. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if we have a camera or not. It sounds like this photo is tucked in your heart forever! Makes me want to catch a plane to Boston before I miss it.

    What a great idea “minimalizing the distractions.” That’s a title for another post! If we all did that mentally and physically the world would be a better place because we’d see and appreciate the wonder and joy more often or maybe even always.

    You are so smart to decide the difference on what can wait until next Tuesday! That is such a great idea. What wonderful parents your kids have.

    I’m so glad you like my book and your “heart and brain are soaring” that may be the best compliment I’ve ever received. Thanks so much. I’ll keep writing.

    I agree Megan’s angels … and do enjoy the sun, flowers and everything around you. And remember the angels.

    I can’t believe I skipped over not responding to your comment! I’m so sorry because it struck so many people. I love that angels are people here to help us expand our heart and mind! Some people beleive angels are positive thoughts but I like this mom of your friends definition much much better. Megan I’ll now think of you as the angel of cyberspace because you cause all of us to open our hearts and minds and I’m so glad I get to know you even better! Yeah!


  • Sara B. Healy September 10, 2009, 1:15 pm

    Tess — I read this with both sadness and acceptance. When I first traveled to London to visit my daughter, I was amazed by the talent in the tubes. I would stop and listen to each one and I did give money to many.

    The second time I visited, I didn’t hear them as much, but occasionally the music of one would stop me with it’s beauty, but I didn’t linger. I was rushing to get to the train, like everybody else.

    Now, I’ve visited many times and I don’t actually hear the music anymore. I’m always hurrying and caught up in the mass of people. I think this “deafness” often happens in big cities.

    Your post makes me reconsider my own deafness. I’m heading back next week as my daughter’s getting married. I will listen for the music and if at all possible, stop so I can appreciate it…who knows maybe they’ll send Joshua Bell to the London tube:~)
    .-= Sara B. Healy´s last post…KindLike.Us: A new kindness community =-.

  • vered - blogger for hire September 10, 2009, 3:07 pm


    I suspect I tend to rush through life these days.

  • Amanda Linehan September 10, 2009, 6:00 pm

    Hi Tess – What have I noticed lately? Good question. Sometimes a moment will catch me where I notice something beautiful, interesting or unusual, but in order to notice I have to stop thinking about all the things that must get done or what happened that day. I need a little stillness – which can be hard to come by. 🙂
    .-= Amanda Linehan´s last post…The Power To Create =-.

  • Joy September 11, 2009, 10:41 am

    After first reading this post, I had a lot of thinking to do. What would I do–would I stop? My truth is that there are people from all walks of life living on and working around the docks that we live on. People intrigue me, not scare me (probably even when I should be scared!). If I was out and around with my children we would stop and listen, and probably give money or at least acknowledgement and a compliment for the beautiful music. That is something we’ve done, and always take time to do. I try to teach my children to appreciate the beauty around us, and to have wonder and curiosity about the arts. Without my children though, I would have noticed the music in the background, might have said something, but would have walked by. Huge lesson for me. The beauty that I teach my children to search for and appreciate is the same beauty that surrounds me and can inspire me. The riches in life I’d like them to have and enjoy are the same riches I deserve to strive for and enjoy….Hmmm….

  • Patricia September 11, 2009, 12:48 pm

    I am working on why I have never made a decent paycheck – I did make $1000 a month for awhile but no benefits. At an internship I got benefits once and as a volunteer at the college I worked for health insurance and taught 20 hours a week – but they never hired me!

    I give away my husband’s money and my food budget money and to charities and fundraisers rather than spend money on myself – even to the point of not being able to meet our needs sometimes. My children all get angry with me, but my husband never does.

    that was my reference in the last sentence 🙂
    .-= Patricia´s last post…I Have Been There =-.

  • jenn September 11, 2009, 7:00 pm

    Slowing down… how true! Look at me I’ve been so busy I haven’t even checked in on one of my fav spots! (here) Thanks for the reminder, its so true to slow down and relax. Its like being with a child for a walk. I’m in a hurry and all they do is take their time, but they’re looking at the is the bugs, the flowers ect. They are a good reminder to slow down too!
    .-= jenn´s last post…A lot… =-.

  • brandi September 13, 2009, 6:08 am

    isn’t that amazing! When I read that story, it deeply resonated with me because the intention of my life is to notice the beautiful all around.
    .-= brandi´s last post…lunchtime adventures:: grapevine botanical garden =-.

  • Cath Lawson September 13, 2009, 9:02 pm

    What an amazing story Tess. I had no idea there were violins that cost anywhere near that much.

    It’s interesting that the three year old seemed to notice the man’s talent.

  • janice September 15, 2009, 4:30 am

    I smiled when I read this because I always stop, listen to and pay good street musicians. It doesn’t worry me if I’m the only one standing. I like that folk are trying to earn money, and not simply begging. If they’re amazing, I put my day on hold and stand listening, transfixed. I may not have known who this guy was as I’m not an afficianado, but in the town I shop in, coming across live music on the street is one of the unexpected gems that makes my day sparkle.

    My problem is when I don’t consider it to be good music. Then it feels like an invasion. We can close our eyes, but our ears can’t be switched off at will. Maybe the folk who passed simply didn’t like the music he was playing. Life’s too short to stand and fill it with something you don’t enjoy, no matter how expensive the instrument is or how talented the musician.
    .-= janice´s last post…The House of the Thousand Horrormoans =-.

  • Daphne September 15, 2009, 12:49 pm

    I am deeply moved by this. I’m not sure I can explain why at the moment. Thank you so much.

  • Sell Your Phone September 15, 2009, 4:32 pm

    This is so awesome. Thank you once again
    .-= Sell Your Phone´s last post…Mobile Cell Phone Recycling =-.

  • Jocelyn of I TAKE OFF THE MASK September 16, 2009, 5:38 am

    Indeed, many people rarely notice the beauty around us. We are so hurried at times that we don’t even know where we’re headed to. One of the recent things I’ve noticed was the graceful dancing of a tree’s leaves as the train I was riding in passed by a park. 😉
    .-= Jocelyn of I TAKE OFF THE MASK´s last post…Just For Today Quotes =-.

  • Erin Prais-Hintz September 18, 2009, 9:37 am

    Greetings Tess! I came over from Jannie Funster’s blog. I am so glad that I found you! I love what you are doing here and believe that we can all be more present in our daily lives. I am inspired to become a follower. I like what I have read so far. My blog is Treasures Found::Inspiration is Everywhere. You have certainly inspired me!
    Enjoy the day!
    .-= Erin Prais-Hintz´s last post…30 Words =-.

  • Angelia September 20, 2009, 3:48 pm

    Tess, I had to post thus on my Facebook. It was just too good not to share.
    .-= Angelia´s last post…Take a ride with me….. =-.

  • Austin S. October 9, 2009, 5:52 pm

    This experiment is skewed. I was thinking about this the other day, and they choose to put him in a subway station. People don’t want to/can’t stop to watch a man play violin while they are commuting. There is a place and time for everything.

  • Jill October 9, 2009, 10:31 pm

    I love taking pictures, and find it’s a way to stop and enjoy. However, it’s hard to realize sometimes you need to not take a picture, and just look.

  • Allar Õunapuu October 10, 2009, 3:33 am

    The way, that is used to dignify Bell’s music, is alienating, too. He played on violin worth of 5 millions – and so what? Tickets to His concert cost 100 dollars? Is this the issue about music? asking about cost of instrument and tickets?

    Metro station isn’t the place of lurking around – it’s place for hurry people. It’s extremely false place for Bach’s music.

  • Derek October 10, 2009, 8:22 am

    I can honestly say that I haven’t passed by an opportunity to listen to a street performer. I wish I had once though lol.

    My band used to play in Columbus, OH and after the show we would walk around columbus. We found a guy playing guitar and he was really good. We gave him a guitar pick and a cup of coffee.

    Outside of a place called the Newport is a guy who is famous. He speaks only in rhymes and whether you give him money or not, he takes time to thank you anyways.

    There was a guy who didn’t even attempt to pass for homeless. He was just sitting on a bench playing some guitar. I tried to give him money but he kindly refused and told me that all he wanted was for people to listen and enjoy his music.

    This story makes me want to go back to columbus just to listen to the street performers 🙂

    This isn’t a “holier than thou” comment. I just wanted to give examples of my experiences so other people may stop and listen.

  • Revelations Zero October 11, 2009, 11:47 am

    As much as this says, putting him in a metro stations was a bad idea. People commuting to work have trains to catch and places to be. It’s not their fault, but you can’t judge people’s willingness to stop and listen to a violinist on their reaction during a busy time.
    .-= Revelations Zero´s last post…No I’m not =-.

  • Leighann Garber December 3, 2009, 2:00 pm

    Wow, that’s actually a very encouraging story. You know, if no one stops to listen to what you’re saying you might be

    a) in the wrong place
    b) talking to the wrong people
    c) marketing yourself wrong.

    And yes, we all need to pay more attention to things going on around us.
    .-= Leighann Garber´s last post…Taking Risks or Don’t Be Afraid of the Smut in Life =-.

  • Paul Smith April 15, 2010, 10:59 pm

    What a wonderful story, it makes you think. Thanks.

  • tools June 7, 2010, 1:47 am

    very great post, and inspirational

    Thanks a lot 🙂
    .-= tools´s last post…Tool Shop Direct =-.

  • Anon June 7, 2010, 9:07 pm

    What have you noticed anything lately?

    Herp derp.

  • strandrambler August 18, 2010, 3:53 am

    some and only some buskers are really good

    however the only reason i don’t stop for a long while to listen to them is because i would feel awkward, would they mind me staying there for ages listening to them?, especially if i didn’t give them money, but even if i did.

    I do appreciate beauty in it’s many environments.

    Though no doubt many many do not.

    I bet his playing was brillo.

    A little off to the side of the point, I know from experience people who are literally
    extraordinarilly talented at painting, writing, etcetera, but do not reach the limelight, because of their own blocks or because they do not present their art in the appreciative or renownment enhancing spheres, nor use the best techniques of saying ‘this is great stuff i have here’. Often the true genius caws less than delitants do-is less boastful, more modest in telling their talents-especially caus true talent is so often close to the heart.

  • Todd September 3, 2010, 4:57 am

    Amazing. Everyone thinks it’s begging. At least he’s giving you a world-class performance and you have the option of giving. I always give to street performers.

    A shame that the parents of small children drag them away. They don’t see the natural interest children have in music; how so good it is for them.

  • ben December 2, 2010, 7:31 am

    i think this is amazing!!!! that people would not stop for such free talent, id say it just shows life is wasted on the living…

  • violinist January 24, 2011, 7:29 pm

    I’ve done my share of busking on the violin, and upon experimenting with different styles, I’ve found that passers by are more likely to pay attention if your play something more ‘folk’ or popular, something they can recognize. As beautiful as the Bach partitas and sonatas are, unless you can understand the intricacies and technicalities of it isn’t quite as impressive. and now I sound like a snob, which wasn’t at all what I was intending. If I’d seen Joshua Bell busking in the subway it would have made my life. That’s all.

  • Anthony January 25, 2011, 2:10 pm

    Reading the part about the Parents dragging their interested kids away, breaks my heart. Little moments like that can have such a huge impact on kids lives and the parents are in too much of a rush to even let it happen. They could very well be the parent of the next Bach and not even realize it.

    This story immediately reminded me of a moment I had about a week ago. Where my day was going terrible, the weather was freezing cold with overcast, and here I am walking into my house and then stopping to observe the hundreds of birds sitting in the giant tree in my backyard. For a reason beyond me, that five minutes was such a beautiful and comforting moment I felt great about life for at least a week after.

    Any time a smell, sound, touch, taste, or sight gives you immediate positive vibes, take the time to stop and revel in it. Chances are it will be spiritually refreshing and a meditative experience that will make you, to some degree, better off.

  • Sheri January 27, 2011, 8:43 pm

    Beautiful, just beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  • Rachel February 24, 2011, 4:32 am

    What I would deduce from this is that as a consumer obsessed society we will only value and accord status to that which we pay money for.

  • PG March 9, 2011, 6:59 am

    It’s fairly likely people just didn’t stop because they didn’t want to HAVE to give money. I think people would stop and take a moment to see if it’s good, if they weren’t expected to always give money, which I think people feel they are.
    Obviously buskers need to get paid, they are busking for money, but if you stop and listen to see if you like the music they’re playing, to see if they’re any good, they apparently expect you to pay for that time whether you enjoyed it or not.

  • Ron Scot Fry April 14, 2011, 7:20 am

    I’m a huge Joshua Bell fan and love the article. Bell is a brilliant musician and the people who heard his music were blessed whether or not they recognized it in the moment. But there’s one thing Bell is not.

    He’s not a street busker.

    Busking (playing in the streets for tips) is an art form all it’s own. In addition to musicianship, buskers know how to use eye contact and other personal connections to draw an audience in. They know that if a child stops to listen, even for half a second, their next task is to engage the parents. They are intuitively open and inviting without being threatening. The best of them can balance their artistry with the audience’s need for the familiar while adjusting for the acoustics of their space, evaluating which people to connect with and which to ignore, and keeping an eye on their tip basket. They bring joy and art to non-traditional spaces for whatever price people feel like paying.

    Most of the people in the experiment failed to appreciate Bell’s gift. At the same time, I think it’s possible that Bell and the people running the experiment fail to fully appreciate the art of street busking.

    Consider this next time you hear one of these cats playing the streets.


  • josie September 24, 2011, 5:55 am

    I find this to be so common in our society, we are always in a rush, and we miss so much especially with cell phones the texting the computors. nobody talks any more…nobody has time for the things in life that really count.

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