encouragement by way of another classical crush

26 Sep

There’s a lot about Yo-Yo Ma to love.  For one, he freakin’ kicks ass at the cello and looks happy/friendly doing it.  He is, by all accounts, kind, generous, modest, and a pleasure to work with.  He contibutes a lot to modern “classical” music by making it accessible and culturally relevant.

And he says some pretty smart stuff too; I’m thinking of two instances in particular.  When I saw the Silk Road Ensemble perform (for free–thank you McIntire Dept. of Music!) at the Paramount in 2006, Mr. Ma earnestly called Harvard “the UVA of the North”–adorable.  But the words that I keep coming back to this weekend, which I’ve spent hopping between anatomy lab, libraries, and coffee shops (with a latenight jaunt at Doobie’s for a $4.75 gin martini), are some I think I heard during a BBC program a number of years ago.  Yo-Yo was relating his relationship with the cello to those of children everywhere trying to keep up with an instrument, despite the labors of practice.  One of the kids, I think, asked him if he liked practicing.  He said something to the effect of (this is not a direct quote): Well, it’s a funny thing.  I find that I really dread practicing.  And I put it off and put it off.  But then, once I’m doing it, it’s not so bad.  I kind of enjoy it.  And I love the result, that I can improve my ability through practice.  The tough part is getting started.

I feel similarly about studying.  I’ve been so frustrated with myself recently for not being productive, for not getting enough done, for being behind.  And I’ve really put off studying, partly because I know how long it takes me.  I’ve been discovering that I’m just going to have to be one of those med students who studies longer–this science stuff is not at all intuitive for me, and I really feel like I’m drowning in it.  But, as I was reading though lectures of physiology in the Fine Arts Library yesterday, I had this one moment of Hey, this might be hard as s— for me right now, but it’s interesting…this is how our body functions, how rad is that?! Once I get going it’s not so bad…now if I can just get to the point where I’m just a little faster and focused so I can sleep more, that would be swell!

And speaking of getting going, I should get back to it.  Oh!  And another thing I love about Yo-Yo Ma: how adorably he essentially “lip-synched” his performance at Obama’s inauguration.  Mr. Ma–frozen fingers, out-of-tune instrument, and all–way to tough it out for your country!

When it came time for John and I to have a “first dance,” your solo “Appalacian Waltz” was the only one that we could agree on.

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6 Responses to “encouragement by way of another classical crush”

  1. Erica September 26, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    I have tickets to see him later this month and I am so so so excited 🙂

  2. Meg September 27, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    Yay! I love Yo-Yo Ma, too! I did promotions for some of his albums back in the day. Pretty cool stuff!

    • annaojesus September 27, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

      omg, seriously?! you are so cool!

  3. Jim O September 28, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    I could be wrong, but I believe that Yo Yo MA now has the cello that Jacquie DuPres used to play.

    They started to play the Elgar the other day, and I found myself starting to tear up, now knowing why. Processed it, and realized, that was one her signature pieces.

    • annaojesus September 28, 2010 at 11:38 pm #

      Jim, I feel the EXACT same way about the Elgar. I think you might be right about his cello, a Stradivarius?

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