PD Studio PD Studio | Yo-Yo Ma: Don't study music, study life

PD Studio

PD Studio | Yo-Yo Ma: Don't study music, study life

People's Daily app

11:29, November 08, 2018

This special episode of PD Studio features Yo-Yo Ma, a French-born Chinese-American cellist who has enjoyed a prolific career as both a soloist performing with orchestras around the world and a recording artist. Ma has recorded more than 90 albums and received 18 Grammy Awards. During his performance at this year's Beijing Music Festival, PD Studio conducted an exclusive interview with Mr. Ma.

As a world-renowned cellist and musician, one of his goals is the exploration of music as a means of communication and as a vehicle for the migration of ideas across a range of cultures throughout the world. Talking about cross-cultural communication, instead of looking for what's different, Ma believes we should look for the commonality among human beings.


In concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra & conductor Ricardo Muti (Photo: yo-yoma.com)

"We go through all the pains and joys of growth, loving, sickness, loss and celebration all the way to the end. So what music does is to discuss how we go through life," said Ma.

Talking about the cooperation within the Silk Road Project, musicians from different cultural backgrounds convene together to be melded into one piece of music. The foundation of musical collaboration in his words is the development of trust.

"Trust is the most underrated social capital, more important than money, power and even love, although love is the basis of trust. In fact, the basis of trust is anything that can be built on," Ma added.

Ma started performing from the age of four and a half. At age seven, he appeared on US television with his sister at the American Pageant of the Arts. The commonality in China is that many children also learn music from an early age and some of their parents take a "tiger mom" approach to force their children to learn classical music.

To cultivate these children's creativity and love of music while making sure they won't give up too easily, Ma's tip is role modeling.

Parents need to love music and arise the children’s curiosity in this process. Motivation and curiosity is the drive of learning.

"You go to school to open up different worlds so that for the rest of your life you want to keep learning," he said.

As for cultivating musicians that can be masters of the next generation, Ma's advice is, "Don't study music, study life." In his eyes, to study human beings and nature is more important than musical techniques.

"Truth and wisdom comes from study and that's what artistic development begins, not with technique. Technique is what you need in order to do that kind of exploration", Ma said.

Now watch the video for more details of the interview.

(Produced by Zhao Dantong, Liang Peiyu, Qiao Wai, Yan Yiqiao and Han Xiaomeng; story written by Han Xiaomeng)

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