Thursday, April 12, 2007

Would you have stopped?

Yesterday morning instead of reading from our chapter book, Coty read this whole article from the Washington Post magazine online. I highly recommend that you read it and view the embedded videos. It tells the story of a Washington Post test to see what commuters in a DC metro station would do when confronted with beautiful music played in an unexpected setting by one of the world's finest classical musicians. The Post reports:

"There was never a crowd, not even for a second. In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played (yes, Joshua Bell, who has won three Grammys, made his professional debut at age 14 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, who five years later, received an Avery Fisher Career Grant for promising American classical performers, and just now in April, received the Avery Fisher Prize, honoring achievement in a career—Joshua Bell who has played for crowned heads and whose talents can command $1,000 a minute) seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look."

All those people passed without stopping to listen to incredibly beautiful music. I keep asking myself, would I have stopped? Would you??

Andrew had a cello lesson that afternoon and we enjoyed discussing the incident with Janis, Andrew's always delightful and insightful teacher. She said that Bell is a very friendly and interesting person. He's played with the Charlotte Symphony a couple of times and she's had the opportunity to meet him. She hadn't read the whole Post article so we look forward to talking about it with her more next week.

In the meantime, we are going to enjoy some of Bell's music in our own home. If you want to learn and hear more, check out Joshua Bell's website.


Lindele said...

I read this article Sunday morning before leaving for church and I couldn't put it down. I made Eddie read it, too. I thought it was fascinating - first, that someone would think of doing this experiment, then that JOSHUA BELL would agree to stand in a subway tunnel and play, and then that virtually nobody paid any attention!!! Also that every child who passed by craned their necks to watch and listen, and the parents hurried them on. And I loved the quote "What is this life if, full of care,/We have no time to stand and stare." All in all, one of the best articles I have ever read in the Washington Post Magazine.
Beth, I check your blog every day and really enjoy it.

Beth said...

Hi Lindele!!! Great to hear from you. I thought of you when we read this article...don't you wish you'd been in L'enfant Plaza Metro station that morning. I know YOU would have stopped. And yes, I loved that quote, too. We need to follow the lead of the children who are not so jaded with the busyness of life to recognize beauty.

I didn't know you read the blog. Thanks for the encouragement!

Can't wait to see Amber next week. I wish you could come, too!

Jen Unsell said...

We have been discussing this on the fiar board and I am just in awe that people didn't stop! The part of the children straining to look and the parents just ushering them on really breaks my heart!

michael said...

I would think that more than half the folks who didn't stop probably had their iPod blasting something that was damaging their ears.

Jo Anne said...

I'm a huge Joshua Bell fan, so would have, Of course, stopped instantly.