Remember when classical violinist Joshua Bell played in the subway for 45 minutes and made $32? The author of the story raised questions about artistic context and the loss of appreciation for beauty in modern life. A similar experiment was conducted and written about almost 100 years ago, with a similar focus, and here’s my completely different take on the whole thing:
Live music makes a huge difference for people on the street, in hospitals, in communities, in prisons, in war zones, refugee camps, and in all kinds of non traditional venues.
Sharing music directly, without filters, is important for musicians to experience, regardless of the so-called malaise of a Netflix-addicted society.
Our classical training may make us lose sight as musicians of the transforming effect we can have on people playing music live, even without the accoutrements of air conditioned venues, publicists, sheet music, prepared music, and finely pressed tuxedos.
I get excited thinking about the organic, communal aspects of sharing music outside of traditional performance spaces- That’s why at our annual summer conference we perform in a wide array of venues (including street corners).
The seed of this idea was planted for me 20 years ago playing on prison yards and hearing singing in the rows of cells within the solitary confinement wing. I saw music dissolve violence, replacing it with laughter, tears, and humanity.
When I started to speak with today’s guest on the Creative Strings Podcast, I knew he would be the right person to convey this message- articulating what musical performance is really about, and how we as musicians can be present to it’s meaning.
I met up in Madrid with Valentin Spurchisi, a self-taught violinist who travels and lives from performing in the streets of Europe. Valentin had a successful career as an engineer and web designer in his early twenties before leaving that career to perform from subways to street corners all across Europe.
He chose to live this way. Some might call Valentin an “adult learner” on the violin. I call him a sage. I encourage you to listen and think about what we can all learn from his amazing and inspiring example.
In Creative Strings Podcast Episode 27 we discuss topics such as:
-Life as a street performer
-Packing a large performance into a small amount of time
-Transforming negative audience energy into something positive
-What goes into street performance and what sets performers apart
-What Joshua Bell’s famous experiment left out
-The trap of wanting fame
-The importance of doing what you want to do in life to be happy
-Persistence in doing what you want to do, regardless of the skepticism of others
Watch the full conversation here: https://youtu.be/EdKB13hyi1M
Please take a moment to visit our sponsor Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and most of all, expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on “All things electric strings.”