Are we too busy for great music?

Joshua BellThe Washington Post recently ran an experiment to see if outstanding music could capture the attention of busy Americans. It didn’t work.

At a busy metro stop in Washington D.C., Joshua Bell set up shop as a street musician. He was playing a multi-million dollar instrument, and is himself considered one of the best classical musicians alive, but other than that he appeared as nothing more than the guy with an open instrument case playing for tips. He played for the better part of an hour and made a total of $32 dollars donated by 27 passersby. The other 1,070 people who passed him by that morning ignored him completely.

It’s an interesting article that details his background, his instrument, and interviews a handful of the people who walked past him that morning.

I remember that Marty Stuart once said that if Earl Scruggs were to stand in Times Square and play, that a crowd would gather, drawn by the sheer artistry of his playing. After reading this article I wonder…

  • f5joe

    This is not surprising. What is surprising is the cost of tickets to all live performances. Before long, these same musicians will be out on the street with hat in hand.

    We are very selective now about spending money on live concerts. Ricky Skaggs for $65. Not in my lifetime.

  • Barry

    If he was playing a banjo they would have stopped and listened. No music can grab you like bluegrass!

  • I think in D.C., that might be the case – but let ’em try it in Cincinnati – we dig great music of all kinds…. put them on Fountain Square – and watch them gather!

    Especially if its ‘grassy!