Yo-Yo Ma: Failing in Public Performance

… When I come to Minneapolis, I’m a guest in your town. But when I’m on stage, all of you that are in the hall are my guests. So I’m the host of a wonderful party. You’re all my guests, because I have the floor. While I’m on stage, you’re all my guests, because that’s sort of like the unsaid agreement … So while you’re my guest, if something bad happens on stage — I often think of Julia Child. “Oh, the chicken’s fallen on the floor! Yes. Oh, well pick it up and put it right back.” And you know what? Everybody’s with you. Because — and even if nobody’s going to touch the chicken, they’re not going to let that moment spoil their evening. They’ll remember, “Oh, yes, oh, remember when Julia dropped that?” … So, it’s like, “Oh, well, this happened. Boom!” But, actually, that’s not why we’re here, to watch the bad things that happened. 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? So it’s not about how many people are in the hall. It’s not about proving anything. It’s about sharing something.

- Yo-Yo Ma, OnBeing podcast interview