From intellectualtakeout.org, this article was very very good.
“Throughout grade school and high school, I was fortunate to participate in quality music programs. Our high school had a top Illinois state jazz band; I also participated in symphonic band, which gave me a greater appreciation for classical music. It wasn’t enough to just read music. You would need to sight read, meaning you are given a difficult composition to play cold, without any prior practice. Sight reading would quickly reveal how fine-tuned playing “chops” really were. In college I continued in a jazz band and also took a music theory class. The experience gave me the ability to visualize music (If you play by ear only, you will never have that same depth of understanding music construct.)”
Fausto Cacciatori, the curator of Cremona’s Museo del Violino, a museum devoted to musical instruments that is assisting with the project, said that each Stradivarius had “its own personality.” But, he added, their distinctive sounds “will inevitably change,” and could even be lost within just a few decades.
“It’s part of their life cycle,” Mr. Cacciatori said. “We preserve and restore them, but after they reach a certain age, they become too fragile to be played and they ‘go to sleep,’ so to speak.”
Back in the days before inexpensive guitar tuners, the players in the band would look to the keyboard player to give them the tuning notes they needed. Wow, that seems like the time before the wheel was invented or fire was discovered looking back on it now. You can now buy a great tuner for around 10 bucks that works better than anything available even 10 years ago. With that being said, I had always assumed that the orchestra tuned to the piano as well, but have recently discovered that it’s usually the oboe that all the players will pitch to. Why? Good question.