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Old 12-12-2011, 04:23 AM   #1
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Default Perception... an interesting experiment

got this by email this morning....

im sure most of you have seen it before, but worth another read

THE SITUATION
In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.


About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.


At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.


At 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 the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.


At 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.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.


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 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.


This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.




This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:17 AM   #2
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Interesting story.

Here's my take. Joshua Bell made $32 in 45 minutes. That's a pay rate of $42.67 an hour which would equate to a yearly salary of nearly $90,000.

Doing some Google searching I found this on violinist.com.

Quote:
Most section violinists in major American orchestras, such as New York, make between $75,000 and $125,000 per year.
So one could say the public did appreciate the beauty. It was equal to the value he was worth to a major orchestra in a city with a high cost of living.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:20 AM   #3
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Nice take on it Mike.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:37 AM   #4
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Good post mike.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:34 AM   #5
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interesting take on that Mike..
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:26 AM   #6
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Interesting post.

I like to think I would have stopped and listened.

There's a line in the Joni Mitchell song 'For Free' about this sort of scenario:

Nobody stopped to hear him
Though he played so sweet and high
They knew he'd never been on their TV
So they passed his music by...

I have a bee in my bonnet about the whole issue of talent recognition and recompense. At least in the classical arena, you tend to be compensated in direct proportion to your ability.

But in contemporary music, there are so many men and women out there with incredible musical talent, that will either never get a shot at success, or will only achieve limited financial rewards. It's really a thousand times worse than it was 30 years ago. Take a typical pop megastar: the real musicians are the session and/or backing players - usually versatile and supremely skilled - and earning a fraction of the person they are supporting.

Why is Coldplay one of the biggest bands in the world ( I mean, they can play a little bit, but they're not exactly virtuosos) when bass supremo Jeff Berlin supports himself through teaching? It makes no sort of sense to me.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:47 AM   #7
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It's really cool that you like Classical music. My 13 year old son loves Classical music and opera. Personally, I can only take it in small doses, but I encourage him to like what he enjoys.
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