This experiment involved placing a violinist near a metro station in Washington D.C. early in the morning as people were going to work. He played for 45 minutes as busy commuters passed him by. Over 1,000 commuters passed him during this time and few of them tipped him and even fewer commented or even took notice of his performance. The performer ended up earning $32.17 for his concert.
The amazing part of the story is that the violinist was Joshua Bell one of the most accomplished concert violinists today. Previously that week he had sold out the Kennedy Center Concert Hall where patrons paid an average of $100 a ticket. During this metro experiment he had performed several difficult pieces with a 1713 Stradivarius violin worth 3.5 Million dollars but the commuters thought he was just a street musician and therefore treated him as one.
I thought this story was interesting on many levels. I can't really blame people who are rushing to work for not taking the time to listen, but I'm sure there would have been a huge crowd had they known the details behind the performance. This story made me think about how quick I am to judge other people from a brief first impression. It also made me wonder how many times I am in too much of a hurry to recognize art, beauty, excellence, or opportunities that may be all around me on a daily basis. I found some footage of this experiment on YouTube entitled "Stop and Hear the Music."
Next time I report on something in the news I'll try to address it before a year has passed. I guess I just like history more than current events.