Friday, April 13, 2007

Street Music

Jon sent me this article about an extraordinary “street performer” recently playing for rush hour foot traffic in Washington, D.C. To the misfortune of those who failed to pause and recognize his brilliant playing, they will now only get to see him back in the concert halls for a $100 ticket (at least). They walked right by Joshua Bell**.

Here is an excerpt from the article that particularly moved me:

There was no ethnic or demographic pattern to distinguish the people who stayed to watch Bell, or the ones who gave money, from that vast majority who hurried on past, unheeding. Whites, blacks and Asians, young and old, men and women, were represented in all three groups. But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.

You should definitely check out the videos within the article as well!

**In the mid-nineties, when my cousin Sarah and I were pre-teens, we had a crush on Joshua Bell after seeing his picture in the program for OK Mozart. I remember being irritated that my parents actually saw him perform that year in Bartlesville, but didn’t take me!


Anonymous said...

There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article by a NYC subway musician in her blog:
She interprets the situation differently from the Washington Post reporters... I thought you might find it interesting.

db said...

That is an extrememly interesting experiment but it really points towards how living full time with crowds of people turns humans inward. Its self defense from being constantly bombarded with sensory input. Granted,hearing Joshua Bell play would be a peaceful moment, as the one guy said, but when you are already rushing to get somewhere, chances are slim you are going to stop. When you go to a concert, you have paid the money and you go intending to have some peaceful clear your mind and focus...that's not something anyone in a big city is programmed to do in the metro station, with the exception of small children who take everything in as they haven't developed the self defense mechanism of filtering. If he had stationed himself in a park where folks are relaxing...he may have gotten a better response.
He is amazing...Itzhak Perlman as well.

Erin... L aMoureux de la vie said...

i actually updated my blog with random ramblings...i am going to TRY to keep it updated b/c i miss writing but don't know that anyone else will be reading other than you...however i do too much grading and not enough writing.

Jon said...

I think Mrs. DB has some interesting thoughts - a perspective I hadn't considered. Nice.