A few weeks ago The Washington Post ran an article about an experiment they ran. They asked world famous classical violinist, Joshua Bell, to play in the subway. He played a 45-minute concert of some of the world’s most beautiful music on a $3.5 million Stradivarius violin.
Only one person recognized him, and one other stopped to acknowledge that this was a superb music performance. The vast majority didn’t notice.
This does not surprise me at all. Every Friday and Saturday, during our concert times, people come into Homer’s Coffee House where I work, order their drinks and leave – having never even glanced at the stage.
Just about every week, somebody will comment to me about a magic moment on stage, a debut performance of a great song or a career best solo by a jazz artist, that had gone mostly unnoticed by the audience.
I don’t know what this means. It may indicate a lack of arts education in the schools, but it probably just means that we are too busy or too wrapped-up in our own affairs to pay attention to what is going on around us.
I describe myself as a musician, a photographer, and writer. What that really means is that I am an observer of life. I try to look for things of beauty around me. I might try to capture them with a camera, write about them, or show it to the world somehow through music. As a photographer it seems that my job is to look for beauty in God’s creation, and then force people to look at it by putting it in a box and hanging it on the wall.
I hope that if I heard great music in a subway station I would stop to listen – I have in the past. But I have probably missed a lot to.
God gave us beauty for our enjoyment. I believe we please Him when we take the time to do so.