Thoughts on music

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by the Laurie Hansen of the CTL.]


I vote “yes”.  I live with a great musician.  Sometimes he is unappreciated.   Other times, people watch and listen in awe.  It makes me wonder; how is it that talent can be appreciated by some and go unnoticed by others?

My cousin-in-law sent me one of those chain-email letters, sort of a “stop and smell the roses” message.  It included an article that was featured in The Washington Post entitled Pearls Before Breakfast for which Gene Weingarten was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

The article features Joshua Bell, violin virtuoso.  He’s won a Grammy, an Emmy and countless other distinguished awards.  But yet, when he showed up to play his violin in a DC subway as part of a cultural experiment, he went almost completely unnoticed.

So why was Joshua ignored?  The article says we are too busy, too distracted.  According to an observation by a French sociologist named Alexis de Tocqueville when he visited the States he noticed Americans are “driven, to the exclusion of everything else, by hard work and the accumulation of wealth.”  However, that observation was done in 1831.  The Washington Post article also includes that the more recent 1982 work of Godfrey Reggio suggests we may be Koyaanisqatsi – Hopi for “life out of balance.”  And, “In his 2003 book Timeless Beauty: In the Arts and Everyday Life, British author John Lane writes about the loss of the appreciation for beauty in the modern world.”  According to Lane, perhaps we have the “wrong priorities.”  Ouch!

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

— from “Leisure,” by W.H. Davies


2 responses to “Thoughts on music

  1. Laurie,
    How true! I am so aligned with the philosophy that we must take time for ourselves every day to enjoy the sunset, smell the rose, plant a garden, listen to the music. If we do not, we lose the very essence of being human, appreciating who and what we really are.
    Thanks for the reminder. Beauty is everywhere and we just need to reconnect and appreciate.

  2. Hi Laurie,

    Your article was of great interest to me. I too am a musician. I have been playing the flute for 47 years and currently play in a Celtic band. I have noticed the same thing you are describing countless times. Sometimes when I play, people approach me afterwards and seem to be in awe that I play an instrument. On the other hand, many people pay no attention whatsoever to my performing. I am background noise and may as well be a picture hanging on the wall that one glances at and then looks away. This both amuses and puzzles me because there is such a huge difference between the noticing and the not noticing. I think perhaps it is a combination of everything you’ve said- we are too busy, we don’t “stop and smell the roses” and we are too distracted. And, maybe some people just aren’t music-lovers!:-)

    Here’s a related video. It is definitely worth watching.


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