Cami Shaskin

Violin Blog


About


This blog is about all things violin. It is meant to educate, inspire, and provide resources for parents, teachers, and students. The author takes full responsibility for the viewpoints expressed here. In instances where she quotes ideas from others, she pledges to cite her sources as fully, responsibly, and accurately as possible. Topics will include book reviews, technique tips, entertaining anecdotes, quotes, jokes, educational findings, instrument care suggestions, violin in the news, repertoire lists, etc.

Cami J. Shaskin graduated with her master's degree in Music Education in 2008. Violin has always been her primary instrument, since beginning private lessons at age five. See camishaskinviolin.com/info for her music résumé, or click on Spotlights for historical recordings. Cami has enjoyed an array of experiences in writing, from penning award-winning articles as a journalism staff writer in high school, tutoring peers at BYU's Writing Center, earning a Writing Fellows scholarship and a minor in Language and Computers, and later becoming a published author. She recently picked up web programming as a hobby, earning a certificate in Web Programming and Development from the local community college. This blog has been a collaborative effort between her and her husband, who is a Web Developer by profession. Together, they designed and coded this blog and its original content "from scratch."

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2021
    Jan
        16 - Welcome to My Blog
        23 - Violin Teaching Kits
        30 - The Power of Inspiration
    Feb
        06 - Valuable Techniques
        07 - From the Top
        13 - In Honor of Valentine's Day
        20 - Violin Jokes
        28 - Beginning Orchestra Teaching
    Mar
        06 - Singing in Orchestra
        13 - Nurtured by Love
        21 - Helpful Websites
        27 - Unique Case Uses
    Apr
        02 - Favorite Music Quotes
        10 - All About Tone
        17 - Unique Composer Stories
        24 - Teaching Values
    May
        02 - Believing Teachers?
        15 - Violin in Art & Architecture
        23 - A Solo Repertoire List
        29 - Our Quartet
    Jun
        20 - Theft and Other Lessons
        26 - Violin Bridge Tips
    Jul
        07 - Clever Violin Memes
        20 - Horses and Lions
    Aug
        04 - Music During Covid
        16 - Favorite Music
    Sep
        12 - Being There
    Oct
        16 - Sight Reading Tips
    Nov
        05 - Why It's the Frog
    Dec
        20 - Bach on the Brain
        30 - Impact for Life
2022
    Jan
        23 - Tendonitis Helps
    Feb
        21 - An Old Performance
    Mar
        23 - Cars3 & Coaching
    Apr
        28 - Buying a Violin for Dummies
        29 - Preferred Brands
    May
        27 - Love: A Calling
    Jun
        20 - Gratitude for Idaho Shop
    Jul
        19 - Violinist Interviews Books
    Aug
        08 - Music Opens Doors
        23 - Top Classical Tunes for Violin
    Sep
    Oct
        11 - 100 Days of Listening
    Nov
        27 - Useful Analogies
    Dec
        28 - A Humorous Anecdote
2023
    Jan
        14 - Favorite Concertos & Sonatas
    Feb
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Posts


A Humorous Anecdote
28 Dec 2022

Great stories sometimes pop up in the most unexpected places. (See an earlier post for more examples.)

One of the great privileges I’ve had over the last year and a half is to play my violin on a semi-regular basis for a local assisted living center. The audience, as you might expect, is always very receptive, and the excellent acoustics at this particular center are alluring to me. Playing music for the residents at Christmas time is especially rewarding. Caught up in the emotion of the holiday when I was there this month, I looked around at the weathered faces gazing attentively and expectantly up at me, there in the lobby, near the end of my performance, and I decided to share something special. I acknowledged that while not everyone believes in God, for me there is no doubt, when I ponder on the abilities He gives us as musicians, and the awe-inspiring music composers are inspired to create. There has to be a higher power behind such beauty.

Hearts were tender that evening. Following the performance, many came up to thank me for my gift.

But as I looked around, there was a particular face I was missing. I couldn’t recall this particular resident’s name, so I couldn’t inquire after her specifically, though the attendant mentioned that they had had an increase in deaths in recent weeks. I sincerely hope this lady’s time on this earth isn’t over yet! Perhaps she was just tired and unable to attend. But at any rate, I missed her. And not just because she was all smiles whenever I saw her in the audience, or because she had been to most of my other performances, listening with rapt attention, but because she had made me laugh out loud with her childhood violin story. For me, it all began with another performance:

Around the time I first started playing hour-long concerts at Our House in Tooele, I decided to get to know the residents a little bit before diving into my solo performance. So, among other get-to-know-you questions, I asked if anyone in the audience happened to play the violin. One lady enthusiastically raised her hand and looked at me so intensely, I admit it threw me off guard, and suddenly, I was nervous. What if she had been a virtuoso in her day? I was careful to play extra well, with conscientious attention to my shifts and extra feeling for the next hour, primarily for her sake.

After the performance, she came up to congratulate me. And she told me her story. “I used to play the violin!” she said (as if I could have forgotten). “But one day, my violin went missing. My dad was upset, but for the longest time, we never did discover where it went. Then, many years later, my older sister admitted that she had sold it to a local pawn shop to get money to pay for a dress for her school dance!”

“Oh my goodness!” I reacted, sympathizing, as I’d also had a violin stolen once. “I’m so sorry!” She accepted my condolences with a pat on my arm.

After the next performance I gave, I found out there was more to the story. She shared with me the same explanation of her violin gone missing, but with an unexpected twist. After the part about her sister taking her violin and selling it, this dear lady leaned forward and whispered, “I was so grateful to her. I wasn’t very good [at the violin]! I never had to play it again!”

My outburst of laughter was comprised mostly of surprise (and also a little relief that I didn’t have to worry about trying to impress her more than the others. I was also laughing at my own silliness that that had been my focus the last time.) And, if I think about it, I probably also laughed with understanding. Who hasn’t sounded awful on their instrument to some degree, at some point? And who wouldn’t welcome at least a temporary excuse to get out of practicing?

I’ve grown to appreciate my time at this marvelous facility—for the acoustics, yes; for the presence of a doting and wise audience, true; but now, my appreciation has expanded from hearing one tiny honest and hilarious story.

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