Take It In

>> Friday, April 20, 2012

It was a normal morning at the L'Enfant Plaza Station in Washington. People scurried through on thier way to work, almost totally oblivious to the violinist playing with his case open for donations.
He looked like any other street musician--jeans, t-shirt, and a baseball cap.

What they didn't know was that it was the world-famous violinist Joshua Bell.

He had been approached and asked to do an experiment: If a famous classical musician played like any other street musician, would anyone notice his music? Would people stop and listen to what they thought was a random musician, which was in reality a world-class violinist whose concerts cost some thousand dollars just to get in?
Or would he be ignored?

As Joshua Bell played Bach and Schubert in a tiny little station, most people ignored him. When interviewed later, most of the commuters simply said that they didn't even notice he was there. The reason? They were listening to thier ipods.
Some people actually were irritated by the music and talked louder on thier cell phones as they passed by to try and drown it out.

But some people did stop and listen. Very few people, but they did it just the same. They decided to stand there and take it all in.

When I heard this story, I couldn't help but wonder: Would I have noticed? Would I have listened? Or would I have been "too busy"?

Maybe sometimes we just need to slow down and take in every beautiful detail that life has to offer. The world could be filled with wonder if we just let it. Maybe I'm waxing a little too philosophical, but this story makes me want to slow down a bit more, smell the roses, y'know?

So here's a question:

Would you have stopped to listen?

3 Comments:

Havilah April 20, 2012 at 12:45 PM  

Honestly, I am not sure if I would of or not. I am a huge fan of classical music, as I grew up listening to it and learning how to play many pieces of it. But I know exactly what you mean about our lives just being too busy and always in a hurry to do this and get that. It is good once in a while to just stop and breathe.
Just a quick story: Several years ago my parents took us down to LA, CA where we went to Disneyland. Of course with all the activities and rides to do and there being eleven of us total in my family, everybody wants to do everything. Same scenario, there was this fiddler playing some old western tunes and all of us kids just walked right on by, hurrying to get to the next thing. My dad stopped us and made us turn around and go listen to the fiddler. He put on the best show; we couldn't have asked for a better one. With us stopping and listening made others stop and listen too. At the end of his fiddling he walked up to us and said to my dad, “Thank you so much you guys were the first people to stop and listen. I sure do appreciate you taking time to hear me out. It makes what I do so worth it.”
I think out of the whole day at Disneyland that is what I remembered and appreciated the most. I am so thankful my dad made us stop.
So would I have stopped? Sometimes it takes others making us stop and I am so obliged to have people that will make me smell the roses even if I don’t want to, I have always been grateful afterwards for the breather.

Celtic Traveler April 20, 2012 at 1:45 PM  

Goodness, that's an amazing story. You're dad rocks. I'll have to try to remember to stop and listen from now on.

Marian April 22, 2012 at 6:20 PM  

I feel like it's a lose-lose situation--stop and listen and possibly miss your commute, or keep walking and find out later what you missed. I can't blame people for not wanting to be late--it's a bad way to start a weekday. On the other hand, if I had any time to spare I would have certainly stopped (or at least slow down). I'm one of those few people who would have recognised Bell and felt lucky to get a free concert! Or if it were a lesser-known artist, I would at least listen for a few minutes. But I love classical music, so I'm terribly biased. ;)

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