Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

The pleasures of life are free

In the last two days, two different music-related articles have been put under my nose. I think I'll post them both here:

30 Pianos Installed on City's Streets Invite Passers-By to Melt Their British Reserve and Play

from: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/07/11/world/main5152348.shtml (Thanks Pat!)

(CBS)  This story was written by CBS News producer Amy Guttman.

In London, amidst the roar of red buses and black cabs, a new sound is stopping people in their tracks:


Thirty pianos are scattered across the city for the next three weeks - all part of a project to get people together, for impromptu sing-a-longs.

"What we want people to do is throw their inhibitions to the wind," said organizer Collette Hiller.

For Hiller, finding 30 pianos - donated or bought on Ebay - and moving them around London was surprisingly easy.

The hard part was cutting through all the red tape.

"There's a small tree's worth of planning applications for each piano," she said.

One of the biggest challenges will be keeping the keys dry.

London is famous for its downpours, so it's just a matter of time before this adventure turns into "Singing in the Rain." Fortunately, there's a plastic tarp for each one.

Sturdy locks and neighbourhood "friends" also keep them safe.

"I'm surprised it ain't been vandalized, to be quite honest, already!" said Kailey Whitman.

Even more surprising are the pianos' effect on Londoners, who are not known for talking to strangers.

"People are quite reserved, aren't they? They just sort of go about their business," said Celia Lyons.

The pianos may be changing that.

Talent and skill level are irrelevant: All you need are fingers to pound out "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."

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This article I got from Global Peace Map. It is one I have read in my inbox a few times before, but bears repeating.

Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the till and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3 year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly, as the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced them to move on.

45 minutes:

The musician 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.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ....

How many other things are we missing?

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  1. Tint, it would be the same as if I read this post, felt nothing and moved on without leaving a comment. It would also be the same as if I discovered something beautiful and chose to keep it to myself. I have read many blogs with many messages and have found a few ways of trying to get readers of my blog to go pay tribute to others who have something to share. I wonder how many of those people who walked by Joshua on that day, paid the $100+ to see him live on stage. What I found fascinating, was that the children appeared to appreciate the man with the 'fiddle' playing beautiful music more than the adults surrounding them.

    And it's the same as me coming here to read your blog and finding nobody else has been around but me. What s shame!

  2. Bogey, you're a sweetheart :) That made my day. I consider it worthwhile if just one person stops by and reads.... and appreciates the beauty around them. Just one. If one person goes away with new eyes, wanting to see beauty in little things around them, they will eventually want to spread that beauty for themselves, so it is worth it.

    I needed the lesson in this post. I all too frequently go through my days bewailing the dull grey place I live in with little in the line of nature. If I look, I know I will find beauty :)


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