Marjolaine Fournier explains why she learned to play the erhu

Playing erhu outside with my teacher, Patty Chan
Performing with Toronto Chinese Orchestra (with William Kwan)

China is far to go when you don't like leaving home... The thought of this vast country was daunting and I couldn't quite organize my thoughts and emotions around the idea of traveling and playing in such a far away land.

I looked through my memories of tours that I had enjoyed most and realized that one element was common in all of them: I had collected local music throughout foreign travel and enjoyed the pleasure of listening to it all on my return. Photos are nice, but music…!

When the music department asked for education proposals for the tour, I had only one thought: my OWN education!  How could I possibly go to such a richly historied country without taking in as much music as possible!

This got me started on a quest – reading about Chinese instruments, traditional Chinese orchestras, Beijing Opera.. Soon, I had ordered an erhu and a method online. The method’s author agreed to give me a few lessons on skype or in person if I would drive to Toronto. This I did and soon I became a member of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra. I’ve made new and wonderful friends and my life has been transformed.

Learning the erhu was a way to familiarize me with Chinese culture and help me focus my emotions and thoughts for this huge tour... now the tour will help me with my erhu playing.

A wonderful boomerang effect.

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