Andrea Mitchell   |  June 27, 2013

Grammy-Award winning cellist looks to expand musical education

Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma joins Andrea Mitchell Reports to discuss his inspiration for establishing the Silk Road Project and his goals for the program going forward.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> joining me now, a very special guest. legend himself, award winning cellist, music educator yo- yo ma . we're here to talk about music education , arts education , how you would expand s.t.e.m. education to be s.t.e.a.m. education. the importance of art and music.

>> i think of art as including the humanities and culture. and i think there is nobody that doesn't come from culture. and there's nobody that i know who's not human. and the idea is that joining what we say constantly, that what we need in the workforce of the 21st century , we need people who are collaborative, flexible, imaginative and innovative.

>> sounds like a string quartet to me.

>> we call it by that name. what i think is so wonderful about the performing arts in general is that these are exactly the qualities that you can seed and trained and discipline. along with science, technology, engineering and math, adding the arts, culture and humanities makes us whole, it allows us to imagine a world that we all want to live in.

>> this country talks a good game. you are a kennedy center hon yoree. have you the presidential medal of freedom . yet the first thing that we cut from the budget when there are skwus t sequesters such as public school districts like the district of columbia are arts, education.

>> one of the things that's interesting, i do some work in chicago, chicago symphony orchestra . one of the things that chicago has done as a city is that they went and did a lot of town hall meetings and said what do we need for culture plan, what do you want in the core curriculum . they all voted for the arts and now it is part of the core curriculum . so it's -- in a democracy we get the country we deserve. so in that sense, a place like the ideas festival is to convene and figure out what do we really want. what kinds of ideas are really worth fighting for. it invites participation. full participation.

>> why is music important to children?

>> because children have incredible imagination. we don't want to lose that imagination as they go through k through 12 through college to their jobs, because what imagination leads to is passion, innovation, invention, the qualities we need, and imagination is what is something that you can't give to kids in any other way but through the senses, through your ears, through hearing, through seeing, through feeling, through touching. and then what music does, it becomes memorable. things that become memorable are things that you can build on. and that's what education does. that's hopefully the best part of education, is memorable. music i think involves all of the human -- the whole person.

>> i saw you with the wounded warriors at the kennedy center . tell me about that experience. going up and working with them and creating this musical group .

>> well, i think one of the things that we know how hard it is for returning veterans to reintegrate into life, whether it's through jobs or just to be able to tell to others what they've seen. well, through writing stories, through being able to -- through music, you can actually show what you can't show in any other way that's socially acceptable. because what you've seen are things that normally we don't want to deal with. and i think there's nothing -- i think we cannot do enough for our returning veterans, and especially for those that have really given up life or limb. and i think we want to reintegrate what they've given all of themselves, we need to give all of ourselves back to them so they feel whole and protected and they know that we're grateful.

>> yo- yo ma , you're going to stay with us for just