by on September 28, 2009

This was submitted by Adrian Armstrong on (my first guest post, if you will) but definitely …

..something to think about…

Washington, D.C., 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 two 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 musician 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 $200.00.

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 common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One 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?

Author Unknown

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna Vail September 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Thank you Jacqueline! This is a fabulous story and one to take heart as we embark out on the world. I will pay more attention to what's happening around me and allow time to pause. As the old song goes: "Don't move too fast, you've got to make the moment last….lookin for fun and feeling groovy!!!" Perception is everything. Thanks again. 🙂


Christine January 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Yes, sad to say that too many are still sleepwalking through their lives. Attention everyone! Open your hearts!


Lisa Shah January 8, 2010 at 1:24 am

Love It!!
That's why I love who I am and what I do…coz I remind people of beauty…their own. Too often, when we do see it, we sigh longingly, not for a second realising that the beauty reflected in others is only recognised by us because it is resonant, and resident, within us! in other words "It takes one to know one"!


Beth Hewitt April 28, 2010 at 3:41 pm


Talk about coincidence…on the 17th of April we went to York for my daughters 5th Birthday, walking through the town we came across a violinist. The music was beautiful and my daughter was mesmerised, unlike the parents in the story above, we stood with her listening to the music until he had finished it was a good 10 minutes.

She said she liked Violins and would like to play one when she gets bigger and so that’s what we will do.

Perception is such a powerful part of a human beings functioning. I am grateful that my daughter has picked up the same genes as me and see everything for what it is….I think we may have a little Goddess in the making.

Much Love,
Beth 🙂
.-= Beth Hewitt´s last blog ..De-Cluttering for Clarity =-.


Kellie Hosaka June 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Aloha Jacqui,

Thank you for posting this beautiful story. I remember reading it a while back and it really shows us how we may be perceiving our world. Opportunity and happiness is all around us if we are just willing to “tune in” to it’s frequencies, instead of the “noise” around us.

Thank you for the reminder!

Much love & gratitude,
Kellie 🙂
.-= Kellie Hosaka´s last blog ..Do You Know What “The Business of the 21st Century” Is According To Robert Kiyosaki? =-.


Jacqueline Gates June 4, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Reality is only what we See and believe it to be ~ and so often, we’re not paying attention at all!


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