From Conrad Zero I get a link to this article in the Washington Post.
A world-class violinist playing on a priceless violin, posing as a street musician, and his value is only recognized by a few people...a handful who have dabbled at being violinists, and one who recognizes the musician.
People who rushed past, perhaps flipping spare change, perhaps trying to shout over the annoying noise of this bothersom begger...what would they have done if they had realized that they were getting a free front seat at a performance that they would never get another chance at again?
What do people simply throw out as useless, meaningless, even stupid...just because they don't have a reason to really look at it's value?
How much of our "junk science" is the public policy equivilant of a virtuoso with a nearly priceless instrument being ignored by commuters too busy to bother knowing what they are missing?
[UPDATE: Michelle gives us a link in the comments to a blog entry that expands on the "framing" aspect of the WaPo story. She says that in order for the audience to respond to a classical musician in a street musician setting, he needs to develop skills for presenting to that audience appropriately for the kind of audience they are, and in the situation they are in rather than actually expecting them to respond to a performance just because it is good and worthy of their attention.
This is EXACTLY what I've been trying to say. Thank you, Michelle.
Quote from the blog entry:
A busker is someone who can turn any place into a stage. Obviously, Joshua Bell needs an actual stage. As a busker one needs to interact with those around, break walls of personal space, and lure people into a collective and spontaneous group experience on the street, in the moment, with you. A bad busking act is when the performer doesn’t make an effort to connect with the audience. Like musicians who play for themselves, not acknowledging the audience, just burying their heads in their instruments.