Something to ponder today…..

Washington, DC 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 approx. 2 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 $100.

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?

One possible 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?


{found via: Pinterest here}


  1. WOW~ Amazing!! Thanks for sharing this.. 😉

  2. Wow. This is a great post. I think I may just stop and smell the coffee today. Thanks Kasey! Nicely done.

  3. INCREDIBLE! Thanks for sharing.

  4. i love that story. that’s the attitude i want to have…to never be too busy or preoccupied to witness the grandeur of the simple and lovely

  5. This is so true. It’s speaks to who and what we have become. It’s time for all of us to see the beauty in every day. The simple things that we take for granted.
    Thanks for the reminder!!!
    I think Im going to go watch some bubbles in a glass of champaigne 🙂

  6. This gave me chills!

  7. Like this one Kasey ~ makes you stop and go hmmmmm ~ gives a new meaning to stop and smell the roses doesn’t it??

  8. LOVE this Kasey!!! I just re-pinned it before reading it on here. So true and sad that we are always so busy in our day to day lives to stop and enjoy what life is really all about!

  9. I remember reading about this in the Post, and also watching it on local TV news casts here in DC. It really was wild that the children wanted to stay and listen. Thanks for sharing it again.

  10. Wow. I guess it comes down to location, location, location.
    So interesting, thanks for sharing it.

  11. Cathy S says:

    WOW! Thanks so much for sharing this. We can learn a lot of lessons just by watching children!

  12. Thanks for this post! It’s brilliant. I’m going to link to your post on my blog. Best regards from Barcelona, Spain. Marta

  13. Thank you..

  14. OH.MY.GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Dave Callender says:

    People in a subway are in a hurry. I am sure if he played in a park more people would stop and listen. I am sure that the number that stopped at least for a moment was the number of people that had some time to do so. We teach our kids not to talk to strangers and to fear people that look like they are homeless and a guy in jeans playing music in a subway with a hat for money looks like a homeless guy. Would you give up your job to listen to some beautiful music? I am sure more then a few people heard the music but just could not take the time to stop. I do not have a job so if I was there I am sure I would have stopped for a few minutes but I do not think I would have stood around until he finished.

    It is an interesting experiment.

  16. Wow! Really makes you think…

  17. I watched the youtube video of this…it’s amazing! He plays so beautifully and effortlessly…I pray I’m a person who stops to appreciate the beauty!

  18. WOW! I am one of five children, ALL of whom were fortunate to be raised to have training in music and instruments – flute, piccolo, drums, trumpet, tuba, piano, organ. We are not great at any of them, but have a great appreciation of others who are. This experience led us to be better readers (music needs to be read to be played) and conversationalists – while talking about the music. It gave us a more intuitive and creative view of the world and an inner strength and determination to grow and reach higher goals. It helped shape us into healthier, happier, people. I am amazed that this story reads as it does. It evidences that more and more families & children are hearing less and less REAl music, and instead, are listening to far less sophisicated versions of what music really is. It makes me sad that this incredibly talented and crative musician went unnoticed by the world running by him – going no where. : (

  19. It gave me chills. What a world we live in, eh? I’m wondering what I would do….would I stop to listen? I hope so.

  20. That’s just insane! I’ll be in DC in July…do you think he will be there too?

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