To find his own answer to our question, Gene Weingarten from The Washington Post approached violin virtuoso and one-time child prodigy, Joshua Bell, and asked him to don street clothes and play quality music on his 1713 Stradivarius as a busker at a Washington DC railway station during rush hour.
Here is a brief summary of the experiment. You can read the original Washington Post article here ([link], and see Dear Teacher's take on it (including footage of the event) in the Youtube video below.
On a cold January morning, Bell arrived at L'Enfant Plaza Station at 7:15 am, and positioned himself against a wall on a busy subway platform near a trash basket. He wore jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt and a baseball cap. He threw a couple of dollars in his open violin case, pointed it towards the passersby, and played Bach for 43 minutes with the same 3.5 million dollar violin and passion he would play with in Symphony Hall.