Yesterday I related the story about Joshua Bell playing in the Washington DC Metro. Only one comment was left on my blog, but I did receive some emails on the subject. Some relate to the perspective of that comment left yesterday (which you can see on the original post in the Comment section), and others related to the story itself. I found all of them to be interesting points of view, well worth sharing. Here are a few of them, which I’m posting anonymously.
“I took the story to mean that context is everything. Our presentations, lessons, dress, demeanor can make a very big statement. True, quality is great, but it has to work in context.”
“The Joshua Bell piece is great. Disturbing, but great…..Interesting that children could see and hear something they wanted to stop for and would have because they are not so imbued with a “schedule”. Yes we could and should smell the roses more and encourage our grown children to do likewise.
Golf helps too, but not very artistic.”
“I’m moved every time I hear the story about Joshua Bell playing in the subway for several reasons. The first is because I’m thrilled to be part of a music movement that teaches people to stop and appreciate beauty. All those awful pop music stations on the radio exist for the same reason bad potato chips and trans-fat frozen dinners do! Bad taste and no time to improve it! The second reason is that all those kids stopping and staring just puts more weight behind Suzuki’s comment “Baby catches everything.” When I was four years old I saw Itzhak Perlman playing his violin on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood as he toured a luthier’s shop with Fred Rogers. I was awestruck by the sound!!! The next year I started Suzuki Violin Lessons.”
“Here is my two cents on this issue. I, too saw the video of Bell playing in the station. My first thought was: Wow! It’s incredible how people are ignoring him! Almost immediately afterwards I thought: if I were a serious busker, I’d be playing on the platform where people actually have to WAIT to catch the trains. That’s a captive audience and more likely to notice me.”
A few commented on the comment left on my blog post at the bottom:
“Wow that’s a slap of cold reality about life in the big city – make’s me glad I live in a relatively small city with plans to eventually move to a smaller town! A good lesson for us as educators to question whether there are other sides to the story. ”
“I live in the DC area and I know the stop where this took place. I read this story when it came out in the Washington Post. Anyway, it’s not a location where you’d be concerned about getting pick-pocketed if you stopped and listened. It’s an office area stop, and the event took place in the morning as I recall, so people were mostly coming out of the station, not going in, so missing your train was not an issue. Plus, the trains come every five or six minutes during rush hour, so it’s not a concern regardless. The poster’s comments were pretty slick in the abstract, but in this situation they were off the mark.”
“I saw this story last year and I can relate totally to it. When you are coming off the train you are usually in a hurry to get to where you are going. I don’t think the poster’s comments are off the mark. Trains may come in every 5-6 minutes, but they don’t come from everywhere that often. I take the train to doctor’s appointments in Philadelphia. I can either get into Philly 40 min. before my appt. or 10 min. before my appt. It is about a 10 min. walk to the doctor’s office, so that is the best choice, but I don’t have time to dally. Also, since I only do this every 3 months, I sometimes have trouble remembering how to find the right exit from the train station, so I am concentrating on which way to go and trying to not get mixed up in the crowd of people. I don’t pay attention to what is going on in the station. On the trip home, I sometimes have extra time and might stop to listen to a musician, but that will depend on what time I get done with my appointment. Trains going back home only run every hour, so if I don’t have time to kill, I am in a hurry to catch a train. If I do stop and listen to someone playing music in the station, I am going to be careful- “
Thank you all for your points of view. They bring up many factors at work on the scene, and issues I’d not considered.