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Perception, Taste & Priorities of People

Neelam B.
12/02/2021 1 0

Title: Violinist in the Metro

Perception, taste & priorities of People

It is an incredible story. It is a social experiment about perception, taste and preferences of people.

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 a musician was 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. He was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a three-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. Several other children repeated this action. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes, the musician played, only six people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their average 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 world's best musicians. 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 theatre in Boston, and the seats average $100.

Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about people's perception, taste, and priorities. 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?

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