In January of 2007, the Washington Post set up an experiment to test the general dynamics of what I describe above, using Washington’s Metro Station. They broke their experiment down into three questions: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
The Post arranged to have virtuoso concert violinist, Joshua Bell, play for 45 minutes in the Metro Station where thousands would be streaming through on their way to work. Bell chose six Bach pieces which he played over a period of 45 minutes. His first tip was a dollar tossed by a woman just walking by.
The most attention came from a 3 year old boy. His mother hurried him on, though he kept looking back. His interest was also reflected in other children who sought to stop but were also dragged away by their harried parents.
According to the Washington Post, in the 45 minutes that Joshua Bell played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32.
The Washington Post placed a brief video of this experiment on YouTube, at www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnOPu0_YWhw
read the entire article in the June 2011 edition of the South Coast Insider at http://issuu.com/coastalmags/docs/sci_jun11