Arts & Entertainment, Music

You Are Powerful

Yo-Yo Ma

Lesson time 11:00 min

Yo-Yo shares parting advice, reminding us that we are the creators of our narratives. At all times, we have the power of choice: “...the one thing you can always change is your attitude towards life.”

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

Topics include: Make Space for Creativity


[GENTLE MUSIC] - You are many things, and there are many things you can't change in your life. But the one thing you can change, always, is your attitude towards life. And you can say, well, yeah, that does mean a lot of good. Actually, if your attitude is a constructive one, little changes add up to huge changes, and you are actually in charge. You are the architect of your own life. It's really important. As much as you think that, oh, people are always telling me what to do, as much as, oh, I have so many responsibilities. I can't-- I have no time to think. I have no time for myself. And I'm watching this 'cause this guy is telling me that I'm in charge of my life. What are you talking about? You can creatively find a little space that you didn't think even existed, and you can make that active. That's creativity. In evolution, there's a term called punctuated equilibrium. What does that mean? Basically, we change very slowly, incrementally. And every once in a, while, there's a huge amount of change that happens very quickly. And then things settle again to incremental change. My question to you, and it's a very serious question, is looking at your life and how you fit in the world. Are we at one of those moments of punctuated equilibrium? Because if we are, if you think we are, you look around. And you say, everything is changing unbelievably quickly. I can't keep up. Whatever. Well, maybe this is the time to then say, okay, let's recalibrate. Maybe this is the time where we're not turning one degree, but maybe it's worth it to make that 10-degree turn because actually, you will meet the change further down the road, and you're maybe ahead of the change. What do you need to do? What needs to be there in order for there to be a future and a hopeful future for your children and your grandchildren? In some ways, it's too late for me. But I know that when the 22nd century rolls by, my granddaughter is going to be 79 years old. So I'm not going to be there, certainly, but I care about her. I actually want her to live in a world that has equilibrium in it, and so do you. So here's a time when you can think about not only deep human, deep connection of head and heart, because the head and heart will lead you to a good place further along in the future. [UPBEAT MUSIC] Someone once told me a story. A person in the family leaves home in the morning, carries his lunch box. And during lunch, he opens his lunch box, takes out the sandwich, looks at it and says, oh, no. That's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich again. And he does this, like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Finally, a friend says, hey, this is ridiculous. If you don't like peanut butter and jelly sandwich, why don't you tell whoever is helping to make your sandwich that you want something else? And he says, yeah, I wish I could, but I make my own sandwiches. So just to say that you have a way out of whatever that's constricting ...

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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