Yo-Yo Ma in conversation with Paul Katz in Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory of Music, 2016.

  • The goal of practicing is to achieve a freedom of the mind that enables one to physically do whatever they want to do. Careful practicing eventually allows one the freedom to be spontaneous, to react onstage to the moment.
  • Develop a musical concept and bring it to life by working on whatever your ear tells you is needed. Hear everything: Intonation, rhythm, mood, shape. Practice for clarity of thinking, feeling secure.
  • Use life’s experiences, use everything you have – make your music-making as rich as your life!


Music is powered by ideas. If you don’t have clarity of ideas, you’re just communicating sheer sound. Yo-Yo Ma

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