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Joshua Bell Plays the D.C. Metro


NoahZark

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I posted this in the "Where Does Our Profession Stand?" thread, but I think it's interesting enough that it may deserve its own thread.

 

For those outside the D.C. area (or for any non-readers of The Washington Post), today's Washington Post featured an article in its Sunday Magazine that is one part social experiment and one part musical celebration. It seems The Post decided to plant world-famous violinist Joshua Bell at the entrance to a well-traveled D.C. subway station during the morning rush hour. Dressed in casual clothes and a Washington Nationals hat, Bell proceeded to play some of history's best violin music on his multi-million dollar Stradivarius violin for about 45 minutes (open violin case at his feet) while hundreds of people walked by paying him absolutely no notice. The article is a great (and, for musicians, somewhat troubling) read.

 

Here's the link (with some video as well):

 

JOSHUA BELL PLAYS THE D.C. METRO

 

You may need to register (for free) at the Post site to read the article and see the video.

 

Noah

 

P.S. The part of the story that touched me the most (since I suppose I was caught at one of my less cynical moments when I read the article this morning) was the comment about how, despite the fact that adult after adult rushed past completely oblivious to the musical talent on display, all of the children who were in tow with their parents craned to get looks at Bell.

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The question I gotta ask myself is, "Would I stop to listen?"

I am an appreciater and performer of classical music and I'd like to think I know what makes great music great. But what if I was in a rush some morning?

My conclusion is that I would stop. Listen to that gorgeous overpowering sound!

I would LOVE it if they did this experiment in different part of the country AND in different parts of the world.

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The part of the story that touched me the most was the comment about how, despite the fact that adult after adult rushed past completely oblivious to the musical talent on display, all of the children who were in tow with their parents craned to get looks at Bell.

 

Noah, thanks for sharing that article with the forum.. :thu:

 

Of course, I got to read it for free first thing today. ;)

 

Well, the fact that the children paid attention to the musician lets us know there is still an interest in music.

 

However, for those who depend on adults to spend their entertainment dollars on live music, this is indicative of the fact that it will take an effort to get and hold their attention.

 

Otherwise, I am not surprised that folks were oblivious to him. Part of the reason the music industry does not cater to adults is because for many of them, music is a background soundtrack in their busy lives. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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All I know is that I'm pretty much oblivious to the world around me when it's that early in the morning (the article says he started playing at 7:51am). It could have been Paganini himself playing in the subway terminal and it would have been lost on me if I was walking by. At that time of the morning, the only thing I care about is coffee. :)
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Funny, I was just listening to the Red Violin soundtrack last night. That was an interesting article. The kids probably could have sat there for hours listening to Mr. Bell.

I can only assume the same outcome if Chick had been there playing a PSR..... :/

Slow down everyone, you never know who you'll see at the local Tim Horton's. :grin:

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

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I could have sworn one of those NY subway Peruvian pan flute guys was Zamfir!

 

No way! That guy should have made millions selling that Peter Pan music on TV. :D

 

Bridog6996, if Herbie was playing at the local subway, you would have kept on going about your business? ;)

 

Yeah, right. I'd take a coffee and a seat. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Not by choice. :) It probably wouldn't even register that it was him. I'm not a morning person is what I'm saying.

 

Of course, I'm exaggerating just a little. I'd have to be pretty damn tired to not recognize Herbie. I was just making a point that the buttcrack of dawn is not the best time to try and get people's attention. If Bell had done the same thing on the afternoon commute, his response might have been very different.

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I was just making a point that the buttcrack of dawn is not the best time to try and get people's attention. If Bell had done the same thing on the afternoon commute, his response might have been very different.

 

I was just kidding you man. :)

 

I agree the timing could have been a factor except the kids did notice. Otherwise, DC is a mini-NY during rush hour. Folks are in a hurry to get nowhere fast. :cool:

 

 

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Priceless! Welcome to the low end of the food chain, sir. See what happens when you level the playing field?

 

If I want to practice singing, I can annoy the crap out of my neighbors, or I can take an acoustic guitar to the subway and annoy the crap out of them and make a few bucks at the same time. I haven't done that for a while, but I used to average $20 to $30 an hour. Morning, noon, or evening.

 

 

--wmp
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Maybe... If the guy started to play Smoke on the water on his violin, a huge crowd would have gathered around.

 

Or maybe... People give money to subway players so they can stop playing. In other words, the worse you play, the more you annoy people, the faster you get money. :idea:

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Maybe Josh, and those involved, wanted these results and were able to achive 'em. It was some "new agey law of attraction" bs. He wanted people to pass him by and that's what he got.

 

I think he was genuinely suprised at the outcome. This is not a guy who needs to help prove any theories. If you take the article at face value, it was an interesting experiment, if you're looking for a deeper meaning, I think you're missing the point.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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"Priceless! Welcome to the low end of the food chain, sir. See what happens when you level the playing field?"

 

Maybe now he might know what it feels like to finish a burning tune w/WORLD CLASS players only to be totally ignored......welcome to L.A......and probably everywhere else for that matter!

 

DF

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