I love this podcast with Yo-Yo Ma and Krista Tippett.
Yo-Yo talks about how he thinks about making music, what is the purpose, where it happens, what it is like being on stage. And it is riveting to hear the experience of someone who has spent so many years on the stage.
He speaks to making mistakes on stage, and which kind of mistakes are okay to make:
So whatever you practice for on the engineering side that fails is all right, because we have a greater purpose. The greater purpose is that we’re communing together and we want this moment to be really special for all of us. Because otherwise, why bother to have come at all? It’s not about proving anything. It’s about sharing something.Yo-Yo Ma
Then how he thinks of his instrument:
And so I think the image I have of the four strings of the instrument and the bow I use is that, the bow, which draws out sound, are the lungs. And the strings that are on the instrument are the vocal cords. So, I think of instruments as sort of the extension of the lungs and the vocal cords.Yo-Yo Ma
And then finally, the comparisons he draws between nature and music.
There’s a moment where you can go into nature — always, at any moment, and figure out some parallel to what is happening in a sound-centric world. And that moment was amazing for me. I wouldn’t want to end the day playing just the end of one movement without also including the other. So there was a connective thing. So that’s an early-age memory. I think you like to say that sound can be visual. Well, it’s telling stories, giving narrative, giving substance or meaning to something that’s coded, that I think gets us to want to be involved in a specific world that one is describing.Yo-Yo MA