Tuesday, April 10, 2007
stop, look, and listen

Imagine for a second, that you catch the Skytrain to work everyday. Imagine also, that you always get off the train at Granville Station. Now imagine that one day, with no warning or fanfare, one of the world's greatest violinists is stationed with his case out for donations right at the bottom of the stairs (imagine also, that the SkyCops let this happen). He's opening with one of the most difficult pieces ever composed for his instrument, and delivering it rather flawlessly. And as all that beautiful music echoes around the station, here's the million dollar question...

Would you stop to listen? Or, would you even notice?

My friend Tyler sent me this great article from the Washington Post Magazine, and I had to share it.

now playing: Andrew Bird - Yawny at the Apocalypse

5 Comments:

That was a great read! Thanks for the heads-up, Quinn.

By Anonymous Chris, at 12:16 PM  

Thanks so much for the link to the article. It was really interesting and now I know who Joshua Bell is!

By Anonymous Jessi, at 12:59 PM  

Thank you, thank you, thank you for that. I've yet to get through the whole article yet but what I read(plus the videos I watched) was fascinating. I pass by street musicians as much as the next person but mostly because I don't necessarily have the time to stop or they suck. However, next time a street musician piques my interest I'll definitely consider giving them a few minutes of my time(plus of course a generous donation).

The article reminds me of the music video that Badly Drawn Boy did for "All Possibilities" where he is filmed busking but hardly anyone notices him:

http://www.cissme.com/bgroup/rm/xl/badly/video/tnxl017cd-01_rvs.ram

By Anonymous mike, at 5:53 PM  

This article, while an interesting idea, is pretty trivial at best. It gives little if no consideration to the time constraints or pressures urban commuters have and instead focuses on their failure to recognize supposed beauty while late for work etc...

While Joshua Bell is an interesting person and obviously a great musician, the long winded discussion about 'what is beauty' and Liebnitz was not well thought out.

Why should we expect anybody to stop?

By Blogger matt, at 2:52 PM  

I once read about a similar experiment in which people applying for positions in a pastoral training program were told to walk to another building nearby to give a presentation. On the way, an actor portraying a person in distress tried to stop them.

When the applicants were told that there was no hurry to reach the other building, many of them stopped. When they were told that they must hurry and were already late, none did.

By Anonymous Milan, at 6:04 PM  

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