Yo Yo Ma Masterclass Review

This article (Yo Yo Ma Masterclass Review) will provide you with the opportunity to read an in-depth evaluation of Yo Yo Ma’s Masterclass, including information on how the lessons are presented, who the course is best suited for, the cost, and what I enjoyed about it, etc.

Music icon Yo-Yo Ma has joined the faculty of MasterClass, an online streaming platform, and will be presenting a lesson on “music and connection.”

Video lessons totaling over two hours of training are included in Ma’s course. Creativity, “form and emotion,” and effective collaboration tactics in music and business were among the issues explored.

Additionally, in addition to recordings of his lectures, Ma also offers private musical performances in his class, including both solo and ensemble performances. The cellist also discusses the importance of overcoming one’s own self-doubt as a performer while providing exercises for both beginning and advanced performers.

According to the course description, “While he once sought perfection, it did not fulfill him.” A new focus on human connection instead of human perfection changed his course.

This week, Ma was interviewed by Rolling Stone to discuss his favorite lessons, the shifting landscape for classical performers, and why cellists’ expressive themes and emotions are meaningful to everyone.

Who Is Yo Yo Ma?

Who Is Yo Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma is a Grammy-winning musician who was raised in the United States but was born in Paris. It’s safe to say that the instructor of this course, a well-known Cello masterclass with Yo-Yo Ma (cellist) who is also one of today’s most prolific classical artists, epitomizes what it means to be a musician in the present era.

With orchestras, chamber ensembles, and soloists, he has released more than 90 records around the world. Even though he’s best known as a classically trained musician, this artist has branched out into a wide range of musical genres.

Musicians are just one aspect of his life. Yo-Yo Ma, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a spot on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2020, has made a positive impact on the globe through his music.

You may also follow Yo Yo Ma on Twitter, where he has 228 thousand followers and shares some pretty nice content.

What Is MasterClass?

What Is MasterClass

MasterClass is an American online education subscription platform on which students can access tutorials and lectures pre-recorded by experts in various fields. The concept for MasterClass was conceived by David Rogier and developed with Aaron Rasmussen.

Since its inception in 2014, the online learning platform known as MasterClass has grown to become widely recognized as one of the most prominent examples of its kind.

The website’s mission is to provide high-quality, professionally produced classes from world-famous instructors.

Some of the site’s featured instructors include Gordon Ramsey, Natalie Portman, and Herbie Hancock, while the site’s course offerings range from acting to cooking to performing.

In spite of this one-of-a-kind selling pitch, MasterClass isn’t right for everyone, and neither the classes nor the teachers are identical.

Is the Yo-Yo Ma MasterClass the best option for you at this time? Continue reading to discover out.

Course Overview – Yo Yo Ma Masterclass Review

Course Overview, Yo Yo Ma Masterclass Review

So, let’s see what Yo-Yo Ma’s MasterClass is all about.

Taking the course entitles you to:

  • A 43-page workbook is included to assist you in completing the lessons.
  • The chance to meet and interact with other students in the course.

I’m going to go over each lesson in detail in this section. Here you can get a feel for what the MasterClass is like and see whether it’s something you’d be interested in taking.

Before we get started, I’d want to point out that most MasterClasses begin with an introduction and end with a wrap-up session. These lessons have been omitted from the list due to their formulaic nature and lack of substantive content.

What Is Music For? 

As far as the MasterClass goes, I think this lesson gives a solid idea of what to expect. If you’re a non-musician, you’ll be able to grasp what Yo-Yo Ma is saying.

As well as gorgeous animation and a great atmosphere generated by the direction, this is also an enjoyable experience

You’ll also receive your first assignment. If you’re listening, what can you make out? Go to a different room. Inquiringly, “What can you hear?”

You might think this exercise is simple and even cheesy, but it’s a terrific approach to get you thinking about how music is nothing more than an organized collection of sounds. You can’t get away from the fact that it’s everywhere.

Finding Connection And Common Purpose 

This class emphasizes purposeful play. Truth, trust, and service are central. They may sound like empty buzzwords. Yo-Yo gives instances to clarify.

Building on trust. Social animals create in teams. This demands trust, which influences much of what we do in daily life. You trust your kids to study and be safe at school. You wait patiently for a coffee, knowing you’ll get one.

Ma applies trust to music. As self-expression, music can make us vulnerable. Collaboration between musicians requires trust. Yo-Yo Ma believes audiences are equally important as musicians when performing.

At this point, you should know if this course is for you. Some may find this abstract and unsubstantial, which is a fair assessment.

First, this post doesn’t do Yo-Yo Ma’s teaching or the course’s mood credit. Communication is key to learning and affects material greatly. You can learn technical music aspects everywhere, but ideas like why we play and enjoy music are rarely explained in such a simple and fun way.

Developing Creativity & Performance: Bach, Suite No.5, ‘Sarabande”

This lesson focuses on the importance of originality in music, which is why it’s called “Creativity.” That there are so many distinct types of musical compositions is due to the fact that they were all born out of someone’s imagination. Playing music that has already been composed necessitates originality as well.

Despite the importance of creativity to the discipline, many musicians struggle with it and it is even more difficult to teach. It’s not that I don’t want you to learn how to be more creative, but I don’t want to teach you how. As an alternative, Yo-Yo Ma offers a few pointers that have worked for him and that he believes will work for you:

  • Accept new and old types of music.
  • Experiment with both vibrato and legato and don’t stick to one.
  • Consider how Ravel was influenced by Japanese gamelan music, for example.
  • What will happen if you combine all the music you’ve heard?

Expressing Ourselves To Make An Impact 

This Lesson builds on the concepts introduced in Lessons 2 and 3. Another glimpse into musical expression and teamwork is provided here. This lays the groundwork for a more group-oriented expression later on.

We’re back to the idea that a musical performance is a team effort involving both the performer and the listeners. It’s easy to compare amazement for a musical performance with wonder for the natural world. If you’ve ever been in either of those situations, you’ll understand what he means.

Once again, we’re left with the impression that music serves as a medium for the transfer of data. When a composer gets inspiration from the environment around him, he creates a piece that musicians can interpret in their own way. This information is then conveyed to the gathering. So a single concept is able to spread across a vast range of people.

Practical advice, which I acknowledge was lacking in the preceding sessions, can also be found here. It’s wonderful to get some hands-on instruction even if the course focuses on explaining more abstract concepts.

Case Studies: Balancing Power And Emotion & Activating Conscious And Subconscious Expression

Yo-Yo Ma is joined by two cellists for the next four lessons.

Ethan Philbrick and Titi Ayangade perform Yo-Yo Ma’s thoughts about expression, trust, and teamwork. Exploring these issues realistically makes sense based on what’s been presented. This type of MasterClass learning is extremely refreshing. Most teachers speak directly to students, which is successful.

Yo-Yo Ma instructing people while they play adds another dimension. Given how abstract most notions are, it’s also important. Ethan performs the Sorbonne from another Bach suite first, and it’s amazing.

This enhances his contact with Yo-Yo Ma. He notices tiny facets of Ethan’s playing I missed. Yo-Yo Ma doesn’t teach Ethan. Collaboration He asks Ethan how the piece feels and where he wants it to go. He suggests another interpretation.

This is a beautiful example of collaboration and trust in playing. Some of these principles could be misconstrued or miss the mark.

In lesson 8, Titi plays the same piece. This lesson focuses on the subconscious while playing. Again, Yo-Yo discusses TiTi’s feelings about the music and offers new interpretations. It’s a joy to witness three dedicated artists share their work with one other and us.

Making Your Head, Heart And Hands Work Together

Physical. Emotional. Combining these two factors affects the brain. It affords a rare glimpse into the human spirit. Music requires imagination. When we hear a composition, it generally elicits a mental reaction.

This is more realistic than it seems. Imagination is sensory. When you imagine anything, you combine distinct parts of reality. This course explores the implications for music. Saints-Saens’ Swan is exquisite. You’ll probably recognize it even if you don’t know its name.

Titi and Ethan play again. This is very instructive. Seeing their expressiveness, passion, and movement with the music reveals how the process is physical and emotional.

Yo-Yo then asks about their interpretation. How did they like it? What’d they think? Imagery guides Titi’s playing. She draws pictures over her sheet music to help her play. His piano section is like the swan’s water. Like water, his ostinato is never the same again.

After the performance, this was discussed. You can revisit their games knowing what they’re thinking. There’s also advice on playing more expressively. When you hear or play a new piece, visualize it. How will your performance change?

Adding Depth To Collaboration

Yo-Yo Ma collaborates with Ethan and Titi. First, we watch and listen as they make live music. This is a masterclass in itself. Ethan and Titi discuss musical collaboration and what made the composition they just performed work.

Ethan loves music’s nonverbal nature. His course emphasizes hearing and analyzing noises. Ethan regards his main job as a listener, even when making and playing music.

Titi concurs. She notes that you choose your playing partners. The best collaborations include trust. You know how and why they intercept music. Yo-Yo Ma calls the partnership a flat hierarchy. Good teamwork requires trust and respect.

Bridging The Arts And Sciences

We like certain music because, Since childhood, I’ve wondered about this. Universal? Is there a component of the brain that prefers certain sounds? Socially specific? Are we conditioned by society, environment, and surroundings to enjoy certain frequencies?

My questions remain unresolved, but a world-class musician gave me great insight into art and science. Science and art aren’t distinct, says Yo-Yo Ma. Both want truth and humanity. Both are part of the culture and once had the same purpose.

Efficiency separated them. Culture makes us human, but science and art have lost their humanity. Yo-Yo Ma believes the best artists are also scientists. All outstanding historical figures combined both.

Science involves testing a hypothesis using experiments and looking for repeatable ones. Comparatively, art is about being human. We don’t yet have the biological methods to measure this. Art and culture express parts of ourselves we can’t articulate directly.

Yo-Yo Ma calls Bach an artist-scientist. His descriptions were empirical and logical. He was amazed and enchanted by what he saw. His music combines these two seemingly contradictory aspects.

You Are Powerful

Everyone in the class will benefit from the information presented in this final lesson. Yo-Yo Ma wants to leave you with one final piece of advice, no matter where you came from or what you learned from the course:

You have great authority. The way you think is something you can control. Your interest in the subject has been demonstrated just by signing up for the class. It speaks a lot about you that you’re open to new experiences and ideas.

Imagine, says Yo-Yo Ma, that you’re nearing the conclusion of your life and taking stock of everything you’ve accomplished. Then, what are you looking forward to? It doesn’t matter what you want in life; you have the ability to get it right now.

Last but not least, you must sit quietly in a room, take long breaths, and simply be at ease in your own flesh.

This lesson may appear to be a self-help guide rather than a music class at first glance, but I believe it is a good fit for the rest of the course. It seemed clear to me that music is intrinsically human. To put it another way: You are the only one who can truly understand what it means to you.

Sadly, it’s something we frequently overlook.

After Yo-Yo Ma’s last performance of Dvorak’s Going Home, the MasterClass comes to a close. You learn how to perform with grace, competence, and passion one last time using nonverbal means.

Pros & Cons – Yo Yo Ma Masterclass Review


1. One Of The Top Teachers:

If you’ve used MasterClass before, you know they value the instructor. One visit to the site will show you that they have some excellent teachers; in some cases, they’re the greatest in the field. The instructor should be a significant MasterClass benefit. Yo-Yo Ma stands out among the MasterClasses and music classes I’ve taken.

His compassion, intelligence, and kindness make this course. It’s rare to spend two hours listening to someone speak so passionately about their passion and how humans function. Yo-Yo Ma’s production is there, but I haven’t seen many interviews or lectures. He was extremely clear and friendly in these lessons.

When he investigated a concept, it felt magical. He’s spent years playing and lecturing about music around the world, so it’s not surprising.

Yo-Yo Ma’s smart. His qualifications are clear. He felt free to explore his own philosophy and what music meant to him in the MasterClass. I guess that’s why I like his classes. He wants to share what he’s learned, and what he’s enthusiastic about.

2. Different Lesson Formats:

Music is about emotion, self-expression, and intuition, as we’ve seen. These things aren’t quantifiable, so talking about them is limited.

Practical, external music. It’s a mindless physical activity. If you merely teach the practical side of music, especially if you solely focus on performing, you’ll miss the discipline’s connection and purpose.

Clearly, teaching is best when combined. Yo-Yo Ma MasterClass accomplishes this. Yo-Yo Ma gives several tutorials. Warm and welcoming like he keeps courses interesting and energizing. This dude could talk for hours. Somewhat, and I loved it.

It shows what Yo-Yo Ma values in music. Only man can explain this concept. As I mentioned, this isn’t enough. Some of the course’s abstract notions wouldn’t stick if we didn’t witness them in action.

Also, performances, joint compositions, etc. The audience can apply Yo-Yo Ma’s teachings to his playing. Ethan and Titi were a highlight. Given that one of the primary concepts of this course was music as self-expression, it makes sense to perceive it from multiple perspectives.

Yo-Yo Ma’s interaction with the cellists was also cool. It’s rare for a music class, especially online, to show the importance of trust and collaboration.

Changing teaching approaches kept this session lively and engaging and showed us how the more emotional and difficult-to-understand themes played out.

3. Everyday And For Everyone:

  • Who’s this MasterClass for?
  • Yo-Yo fans? Cellists? Mozart?
  • Who’s taking this class?


Rarely does a MasterClass try to reach so many people. Even a master-led course entails specialization in the teaching and experience for the students. Yo-Yo Ma makes sure all students learn something.

He does this by employing broad terminology, not specific to any instrument or style. This class doesn’t think music must be done in a certain manner.

It’s universal. Yo-Yo Ma focuses on what connects us, not what divides us. Music involves sounds, harmonics, and vibrations. Everyone agrees.

We all react differently. Love, disgust, and ambivalence all transmit information. I’ve never had such a broad view of music. Most of the classes I’ve taken focus on musical theory. Theorizing isn’t universal.

I enjoyed the end-of-lesson assignments. Simple tasks include listening to sounds in one place and finding different sounds in another.

Everyone, musician or not, can try this. It emphasized educational points. It’s everywhere. This sends information to our brains and creates emotions we must comprehend to enjoy music.

4. Original Course Material:

I’ll be brief because another section of this post discusses the essay’s distinctiveness. If you hadn’t realized from my repeated statements, this class is unlike any other I’ve taken.

Few locations let you investigate music’s emotion and intent. It’s rare to see it done so succinctly, even if other musicians and professors have attempted. Yo-Yo Ma’s ideas and concentration are distinct. I blame an uncommon mix of factors.

First, you have a highly articulate and passionate educator who can talk about whatever he wants. Then you combine lecture, discussion, and performance to explore these issues. Finally, you’re versatile. Everyone should be able to learn something from this training.

These factors make this MasterClass distinctive.

5. Educates The Ineducable:

I’d want to elaborate on how this course teaches tough concepts. Your course’s focus on music and connection is a bold move. People see Yo-Yo Ma and a cello and assume this is another instrument-focused seminar.

Focusing on these themes may disappoint some. The well-executed substance makes this irrelevant. This course’s emphasis on emotion and connection in music impressed me. How trust affects teamwork. Art and science’s mutual influence. Developing imagination and playing with intent.

All of the following are rarely covered by music teachers, but they’re crucial. Humans create music. It’s non-biological. Its survival isn’t innate. In almost every human community, it has developed.

How does this reflect us? Yo-Yo Ma doesn’t know. But he concludes that music has an emotional element and can reveal the human character. He shares his experiences, ideas, and performances to provide insight.

With so many outlets offering limiting music training, I like this.

6. An Enjoyable Vision:

What are the characteristics of an effective lesson? There are several variables to consider. Ultimately, for me, it boils down to two factors. Your message and the manner in which you deliver it.

I think you’ll agree that this course’s material has wowed me. A variety of teaching methods and Yo-Yo Ma’s guidance ensure that the communication is on track. The final pro I’d like to bring up is how much I loved seeing this class on the second front.

No matter how bad the substance was or how unintelligible and uninterested Yo-Yo Ma was in teaching, I could still recommend this based on its entertainment value alone.

I have already mentioned how much fun it was to sit back and watch them as a way to keep the class engaged and explore ideas that couldn’t be stated in words.

Of course, Yo-Yo Ma is a world-class musician whose music is always a treat to hear. However, the way Ethan and Titi performed was equally expressive and charismatic. What an incredible team effort they all had.


1. Possibly Technical:

It’s difficult for me to provide feedback on this class. As you can tell, I’m a big fan of the advantages. The purpose of a review is to look for areas of improvement, therefore that’s what I’ll be doing. It would be nice if this course had a bit more technical content if that were a flaw I could discover.

When it comes to cello tuition from Yo-Yo Ma, though, I’m not saying that’s what I want. In light of his prolific production, it’s possible to locate anything comparable elsewhere. Aside from that, don’t hold your breath hoping for anything resembling what you’re used to from normal music classes. The title, the ad, and the cello are all apparent indicators of this fact.

Even yet, there are a few places where the wording or material could have been a little more technical. However, despite my admiration for its emotive and abstract aspects, I do not wish to see them supplanted by more concrete answers.

Who Should Take This Course?


Who isn’t this course for?

As I said, the language is so wide and the topics so pertinent to daily life that this course is for almost everyone. Only folks who don’t like music come to mind. Yo-Yo Ma’s delivery, contemplation, and care for humanity would inspire something even then.

That leaves cello- and music-haters. I’m impressed and a little frightened by how much time you’ve spent reading MasterClass reviews. Despite the wide audience, I’d recommend this course to a few specialty groups:

  • Two-hour Yo-Yo Ma enthusiasts
  • Whoever prioritizes high-quality learning
  • Creative, collaborative, and emotional musicians
  • Other musicians looking to grasp classical music
  • Non-musicians seeking a broad but clear introduction
  • People who want to know why we like music.

Course Pricing – Yo Yo Ma Masterclass Review

Course Cost & Pricing, Yo Yo Ma Masterclass Review

At the time of this writing, annual subscriptions to MasterClass cost $180, which breaks down to $15 a month.

You will have access to all of MasterClass’s more than 100 different courses once you purchase this. Therefore, taking more classes allows you to receive a greater value for the money you spend.

If you can find four to six classes that you enjoy, your average cost for each class will be between thirty and forty-five dollars. Even without taking into account the fact that you are being instructed by some of the most well-known people in the world, this makes a great deal more sense financially.

In the event that you are not satisfied with your purchase, MasterClass will return your money within the first thirty days.

You have the option of purchasing a course on its own if it is the only one that interests you. Although the process is a little confusing, it is possible to give oneself a MasterClass by purchasing a single class as a gift for someone else. This location charges a price of $90.

On the other hand, given how many options you have, I find it hard to believe that just a single class will pique your interest.

Yo Yo Ma Masterclass Review: Is It Worth It?


I wish I could be more specific, but I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from taking this course. Even a few simple principles of music theory may have helped to clarify some areas in the presentation, which I believe could have been improved upon.

To begin with, that does not dissuade me from recommending this course in any way. In addition, this course is unusual in that it applies a kind of art, music, to the way people connect with one another in general.

My opinion of Yo-Yo Ma as one of the world’s finest artists has only grown after taking this course. It was fascinating to see how he presented his concepts and sought to adapt them to the diverse experiences of the audience.

My interest in music theory dates back to my early days of learning to play the piano. This is a place where you may learn more about music’s expression and meaning. These are topics that are rarely addressed by other platforms or instructors.

As a bonus, it’s a joy to see. It’s hard to put my finger on what it is about this course, yet it’s packed with fantastic performances and equally excellent discussions about what each performance means to each artist.

So, if you’d like to learn more about this topic, I recommend checking out this course. No, I don’t believe you’ll be let down. In addition, if you don’t enjoy a particular course, you may always try another one as part of your MasterClass membership.

Thank you for reading this article “Yo Yo Ma Masterclass Review.” If you have any concerns, questions, or suggestions regarding this article, please write them in the comment section below. And don’t be hesitant about passing on this piece of knowledge to others.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Yo-Yo Ma cost?

It costs $180 for a year’s worth of access to MasterClass, or $15 a month. Among the more than a hundred courses available is Yo-Yo Ma’s Masterclass.

How long is Yo-Yo Ma’s MasterClass? 

One and a half hours long, including 12 video courses.

Is Yo-Yo Ma MasterClass free?

There is no free Masterclass offered by Yo-Yo Ma. However, if you’re not satisfied, there are a variety of options and returns available.

Can I get a refund if I don’t like the Yo-Yo Ma MasterClass?

If you purchase straight from MasterClass, you are entitled to a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you buy from a third-party vendor, their return policy may be applicable. Visit MasterClass here to verify the validity of your refund policy.

Can I buy Yo-Yo Ma’s MasterClass by itself?

The MasterClass “gift” option allows you to purchase the course as a stand-alone item. As a stand-alone purchase, the course costs $90.

What is Yo-Yo Ma’s most famous piece?

When it comes to bringing Bach’s lilting melodies to life, nobody does it better than Yo-Yo Ma. No. 1 in G Major, Prelude is our favorite and probably the most well-known composition; it is beautiful in every way. This is Yo-Yo Ma as he was meant to be heard.

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