Arts & Entertainment, Music

Adding Depth to Collaboration

Yo-Yo Ma

Lesson time 09:13 min

Yo-Yo, Titi, and Ethan collaborate through performance and create an original piece of music. They discuss the key elements of a successful collaboration and how nonverbal communication guides us through the improvisational process.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: The Keys to a Good Collaboration


[MUSIC PLAYING] YO-YO MA: Earlier we talked about the importance of trust, not only in music but in life. Trust is the bedrock for any collaboration, and co-creating is one of the best ways of understanding one another, connecting, and finding common purpose. We're going to show you one way to collaborate effectively by creating an original piece of music live. Then we'll look at the key elements that go into successful collaboration, whether in music or in life. [MUSIC PLAYING] - I think one of the things I always think about of what it's like to listen to musicians improvise is that you're witnessing nonverbal communication. And there's such a joy I find when I'm watching other improvisers being able to see how they respond. I was finding myself as we were playing just I know I'm doing things. There's output. But I mostly just input. I'm mostly listening. So I feel like that's something that I'm wanting to offer the listener when improvising is a way to witness nonverbal communication. - I love that. You choose who you gather with, and we all chose to be here today. And we chose to have this element of trust in the process. And we made this piece. - What we just did now, I think it would have been much harder to do if we hadn't built up a trust amongst us. We're just three human beings. We're here to gather and exchange. It's not like, oh, it's your idea, it's my idea. No, we're just kind of-- we just arrived at it in a sort of flat hierarchy. We're on one level. Because I think that's the only way we can collaborate, trust, and create. We all play the cello and we have many things we can say in common, and yet we have completely different things that we have to say. And by meeting, we actually totally respect that in each other. It allows us to collaborate. It allows us to now go back to our outlets and function with greater strength. To say, yeah, I met some people. That was really worthwhile. The best thing that I've learned is from a teacher. He said something I've never heard before. He said, all teachers are performing artists and every student of his is a work of art. I was so struck by that. We all have been and are students. And there are 7.4 billion of us. There are 7.4 billion works of art that exist on this planet. That's pretty cool. And our work is just a little bit of what is possible in your minds, in your home, and your everyday activity. Your entire life is a work of art, because it is unique. The creation that comes from collaboration is one of the more remarkable human experiments. It is one of the ways we can connect across differences and turn the other into us. And successful collaboration depends on trust, humility, generosity, and respect for the unique gifts each of us has to offer. Cultural collaboration can turn the other into us. Successful collaboration depends on trust. Have humility and don't take ownership of your ideas. Successful integration of your ideas is the goal,...

About the Instructor

Likely the world’s most recognizable cellist, Yo-Yo Ma has spent more than 60 years creating meaning through music. Now, the 18-time Grammy Award winner is sharing that experience with you. Whether or not you play an instrument, explore Yo-Yo Ma’s philosophy for embracing music’s emotional power, expand your self-expression and creativity, and develop a deeper appreciation for music’s ability to connect people and culture.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Yo-Yo Ma

World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma teaches you how music can be a source of meaning, connection, imagination, and understanding.

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