The Man in the Metro: It was all videotaped by a hidden camera. He was a young white man in jeans, T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. He positioned himself by a trash basket at a metro station in Washington, DC and started playing the violin for passing pedestrians. He played six Bach pieces during the rush hour as thousands of people filed through the station, most of them on their way to work. After the first four minutes went by, a man briefly leaned against the wall to listen, but then looked at his watch and started to walk again, clearly late for work. A little later the violinist received a dollar tip from a woman who tossed the money in his open violin case, but without stopping. Others flipped quarters, nickels, or pennies on the run. The ones who paid the most attention were the children. The Washington Post reported, "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." In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. Others who were on their cell phones spoke louder as they passed the violinist, so their voices could be heard over the music. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed and no one applauded.
No one knew that the violinist was actually Joshua Bell, the internationally acclaimed virtuoso. That day in the metro he played one of the greatest pieces of music ever written- Bach's Partita No. 2- on a Stradivarius worth $3.5 million. Just two days before, he sold out a theater in Boston where the tickets averaged $100. Life's music is everywhere and all around us. If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?