Arts & Entertainment, Music

Finding Connection and Common Purpose

Yo-Yo Ma

Lesson time 06:56 min

Yo-Yo highlights the importance of three core values in music and ultimately everything we do: seeking truth, building trust, and being of service. This lesson reminds us to bring these intentions and awareness into everything we do.

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Topics include: Three Core Values • Finding Common Purpose


[MUSIC PLAYING] YO-YO MA: Good music and good music making is fundamentally about three values. Truth, trust, and service. These values that make good music work are also the values that underpin any creative pursuit. Seeking truth, building trust, and performing service. Now, truth is a difficult word because you're always seeking it. But you have to have a path or a direction, and I think that's the part that I'm interested in, in what kind of path leads you to greater truths. In music making, you need to have a clear idea of what you're trying to say and to whom. Are you telling the truth? And when you're not, catch yourself. Say, oh, I didn't tell the truth. Obviously there's a relationship between truth and trust, right? And if that relationship is solid, you're better prepared to trust, other people are better prepared to trust. We know that nobody can function alone. We need one another. That connection, the real connection, comes only from trust. In fact, there's nothing that humans can do and build without trust. Without trust, I cannot work with my colleagues on stage. Because in music, you are throwing the ball to one another constantly and people have to be alert and catch and be ready to both go individually and go as a team player. Our human experiment depends on trust whether we know it or not. Our basic needs and day to day functions are practically built around unstated trust. Dropping your kids off at school, waiting in line for your coffee, even driving is a collaboration built on trust. And the service part, I'm doing this because it's good for me. Is it also good for somebody else? The reason we've invented all of our professions, including music, it's in service of one another. Sometimes we forget that, because we think, oh, this is what I do, and I must be the best at it. I must be better than so and so, and therefore you kind of go in an individual path. And sometimes we're encouraged to do that. But I'll tell you a big secret. And the secret is very simple. The secret is that when you are doing something in service of something else, actually, you find the greatest fulfillment and happiness. And I'm hopeful that this is the generation that are thinking about more global issues and with the values of saying, I want to live a life of truth, of trust, of collaborative work, and of actually making sure that things are connected because we're doing this for one another. Without trust, collaboration suffers. Creative expression suffers. We must have trust in our common goals. We must have the ability to listen and embrace each other despite our Differences this is true in all human pursuits, and it is fundamental to my life as a musician. As a musician, I do many types of things. I can play alone. I play with a duo partner. I play in small chamber music groups, and I play with larger groups of people. It's almost like every single group has a different culture. And in every instance, w...

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.

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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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