Useful tips for orchestra playing from Marylou Speaker Churchill.

I was studying Orchestra Excerpts from Marylou Speaker Churchill who used to be the principal of Second Violin in Boston Symphony Orchestra for many years.

She is very tall and cheerful person. And she always encouraging the students. Also she always find the time between the rehearsals or concerts and she practice scales etc. and read books.

She taught me how to play in the orchestra from scratch .*Orchestra playing needs very different skills from solo playing.

She was nice but never compromise anything about playing.

Once I recorded 15mins long orchestra audition tape. I thought I did my best. But she found one 16 notes was out of tune. And she asked me to record them all again 😨

When I was studying with her ,I remember that I was practicing intonations quite a lot. Since my hands are small,I have to practice more than normal players.

I will wrote down some useful tips from her.

1: When we have difficult passage, try to smile 😊 Smile relaxes your body.

2: When you stand in front of music stand, try not to stand so close to that. You may stand you can see whole music . If it is too close, you cannot see the entire music line and music will not flow.

3: Practice fast passage with metronome. You may not realise that you are not together with metronome, so please record when you practice.

4: read a lot of books. That enlarge your music scale.

If I found out more , I will write down later. I hope it will help you some.





How you comment on musician makes different of music world

I thought quite long time about people’s reaction for musician’s performance.

How does people comments on musicians and musician’s work?

I knew that if performer is your favourite ,friend or performer who has great reputation,

We listen without any prejudiced opinion.

You can relax to enjoy the music.

If you do not know about the performer, you probably listen to the music with full of curiosity.

If you know that the performer has good reputation ,but you have not listen to the performer yet,you will listen to the music with full of expectation.

Then if you know the performer who does not have good reputation or who is not your favourite , how do you listen the performer? Probably we will have a lot of different answers for that.

My dearest teacher Masuko Ushioda always told me that “‘do not go to only great concerts,also go to unknown concert .And if you like that performance, please ask yourself that what did I like that performance about? Also if you do not like the performance, please find out why I did not like the performance and learn from that,’’

I must say that I was super cocky girl when I was young.😝

I even comment about Joseph Szigeti’s recording to my teacher Masuko .

Tomoko: I do not like Szigeti’s playing.

Masuko:Why you do not like his playing ? with smile.

Tomoko: His sound is similar to mosquito ,not beautiful.

Masuko: Then you try to find your favourite sound from now on.

As you know that Szigeti is one of the legend violinist in the world.

Not only that , He was a Masuko’s teacher!!😱😳🤭

It was old recording 📽not CD📀,so that was a noise 😑

( You know how stupid I was or I still am ?!!)

When I was young in Boston, I heard Joshua Bell’s Brahms Violin concerto at Boston symphony hall and his performance was not convinced me at that time.

His posture was different from others because of his height, and I felt he is suffering to handling the violin. As I know now that my opinion was not totally true.

And go through period of time, now he is one of my favourite violinist.

He handle the instrument like part of his body, and his many kind of tone colours bring music alive.

What I would like to say today is

Try to enjoy the music with pure mind like white paper.

Try not believe to other people’s opinion about players. Your opinion is important.


Your opinion might change any time, so always open your mind to listen to music.

Live performance is only one time shot, therefor influence is big.

And it is very different each performance even same performance, so do not decide so soon about your opinion. You might change yours later. You can say that I did not like today’s performance of the player…

Live Performance is powerful, but only one time shot. But your opinion stays long .

When you talk about your opinion to the others, please take care how you deliver the message.

That one time opinion sometimes affect to musicians very good or very bad.

Musician is human being as well. We play sometimes good ,sometimes bad.

If your intention is good, of course we would like to hear your opinion even negative for our future.

Please do not influenced by other people’s opinion and do not spread out that especially if you have not listened that by yourself.

I believe this is very important to enhance positive music world. 😌