The Importance of Appropriate Venue

violinist Joshua Bell playing for tips in Washington DC's metro station

Image: still from video of famous violinist Joshua Bell playing for tips in Washington DC’s metro station.

There was a recent blog by artist Robert Genn about an experiment by the famous violinist Joshua Bell — who usually plays with great symphony orchestras in fabulous concert halls. One day, he went down to the Washington metro station, opened up his violin case, and played for free (and the occasional tip thrown into the case of his million-dollar Stradivarius).

Hardly anyone paid him any attention; he received $34 in tips for 43 minutes worth of playing — or about $40/hr. — much less than the nearly $1000/minute he usually makes playing in fancy concert venues. Very few people stopped even for a few moments to listen; only one person recognized him.

What does that say about where one displays one’s talents?  Without all the trappings of legitimacy conferred on artists, how many people will pass your work by?

Read more of this story of Joshua Bell’s experiment in the metro station

Check out the discussion on context that Bell’s experiment started at Robert Genn’s blog.

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