Arts & Entertainment, Music

Case Study: Activating Conscious and Subconscious Expression

Yo-Yo Ma

Lesson time 11:14 min

This lesson focuses on Titi’s performance. The collaborators discuss how Titi personalizes the piece with her unique emotional imagination, and how conscious and subconscious communication can be accessed through music.

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

Topics include: Tapping Into What Lies Beneath the Surface


[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER: In the last chapter, we heard Ethan play the Sarabande from Bach's third suite and explored how to balance structure, what's on the page and in our heads, and emotion, what's in our hearts in order to communicate effectively. In this chapter, we will listen to Titi as she performs a different sarabande and look at technique-- what's in our hands and how we balance that with our subconscious thoughts. I believe that in looking at music or anything that I like to take the 360-degree approach. What do I mean by that? Let's take a visual example. You may not have seen an iceberg. But you know what an iceberg looks like, a huge chunk of ice. You see it above water. And somehow, it's able to float in the water. But you know what? Only 10% of the iceberg you see. 90% of the iceberg is under water. You don't see it. And that's the way I think about everything that all of us do all the time. We receive a lot of information. We see, you know, okay, this is the surface. But what's underneath the surface? That's the point I want to get for all of us during this class. What we're talking about, how meaning technique and emotion have to be in sync, in equilibrium, that is applicable to everything that we do if you want to have successful communication. Now Titi is going to play a different sarabande. Each of Bach's six suites includes one of these slow dances. I shared the sarabande from the 5th suite, the struggle for hope. Ethan played the sarabande from the third suite. And now Titi will share the sarabande from the 4th suite. And though they have form and providence in common, the content of each one differs profoundly. And so the act of communicating that content may require an entirely different set of emotions and intentions. - You know, I think the third sarabande is very happy and free and this journey. And the fourth sarabande is kind of like its grown-up older brother, who also happens to be a member of the nobility. And it has this aspirational quality. It's always reaching for new heights but then gently cascading back down, never quite finding its resolution until the very end. SPEAKER: Wow, that's very poetic. So you feel it. Now make us feel it. - Okay. [MUSIC PLAYING] - Beautiful. - Thank you. MAN: So beautiful - So beautiful. Wow, you know, we gave each other knowing glance. I was like-- - Yeah. - Right? - Yeah. - What was that for? - I thought-- yeah, and that-- the beginning of the second half as it starts to go into the minor. And there was just such like beautiful drive in your phrasing. And-- and I know I was being sort of carried towards something really rich. And so-- and looked to see-- - - --if you were feeling the same thing. - Yeah. - And you were. - Looks like it. And obviously, you-- you were feeling it and communicating it. So that was the co...

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.

Explore the Class
Sign Up