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."

Updates



Quick Access



Archive


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
        15 - Our Commonality
    Mar
        10 - Extras
        18 - Autopilot
    Apr
    May
    Jun
        06 - Motivation
        07 - Starting Lessons Again
    Jul
        08 - A Tale of Three Cloths
    Aug
        26 - The Ink
    Sep
        23 - Raw and Real Recital Reactions
    Oct
        18 - In Honor of Halloween
    Nov
        26 - Music Copyright
    Dec
        13 - Memes: Fun Facebook Finds
2024
    Jan
        15 - Fame and Fortune
    Feb
        05 - Details and the Big Picture
    Mar
        14 - Intermission
    Apr
        18 - A Day in the Life
    May
        02 - Oops!
    Jun
        14 - A Science or an Art?
    Jul
         No posts to display.
    Aug
         No posts to display.
    Sep
         No posts to display.
    Oct
         No posts to display.
    Nov
         No posts to display.
    Dec
         No posts to display.


Posts


Our Commonality
15 Feb 2023

There’s a lot that can divide us. But music unites us.

I recently was invited to audition for a professional orchestra . . . in Helena, Montana! The friend who extended the invitation had heard me play when I was trying violins out at his shop in Idaho. I also heard him play. We were both instantly impressed with each other’s playing. Later, when I did indeed make it into this orchestra, he offered to give me rides from the host family’s home I was assigned to. Such kindness was not lost on me.

As I reflected, I realized that this man had had a lot of life experience I didn’t exactly relate to. He had been married young and recently divorced, where I had been married for the first time relatively recently, at a much later season in life. As he and his girlfriend drove me around the back roads of Helena, MT, listening to Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra, I marveled at the singularity of the experience and the respect I had for my fellow musicians, even though the angst of the music didn’t exactly match the aloof grandeur of the surrounding snowy mountains. The song choice seemed out of place, even though we had it playing because we were all trying to learn it for an upcoming performance. But this experience of listening to the loud, emotional, conflicted music of Strauss together, amidst the calm, cold majesty of the mountains, also reiterated to me that despite a potential sense of disconnect, the three of us new friends had a lot in common! Indeed, we all do! What it came down to, was 1) music itself and 2) the feeling of mutual respect borne of knowing firsthand the years of work that go into doggedly perfecting our talents!

Later, in rehearsal, I met my stand partner for the first time and was instantly impressed with her willingness to collaborate. She had a friendly, unassuming manner. We looked nothing alike and hailed from opposite sides of the country.

I think we both had bright smiles. (After all, you're never fully dressed without one.) But any differences in appearance didn’t affect our friendship in the slightest. The music did. It automatically connected us. She listened to my whispered excitement and frustrations alike with a warm acceptance, and she seemed to pay attention and relate to everything I tried to tell her, without even a hint of annoyance. Whether I was expressing my vulnerable desire to overcome the difficult passages in the music, writing in a comment from the concertmaster or conductor, fixing a fingering or bowing, acknowledging my embarrassment at silly mistakes, or proclaiming my awe at the brilliance of the composer’s work, she was consistently attentive and kind.

I had other experiences like this: meeting people who led completely different lives than my own, with different priorities, but who were nevertheless very kind and respectful—the music being the common denominator. One lady and her wife were especially welcoming and kind to me. But it was inevitably their music that really spoke to me in a way that made me feel connected to them.

Even in a small community group, the positive vibe of group collaboration can be similar, when everyone comes together to give all they can with patience for each other’s weaknesses. In a community orchestra, the level of playing of individual players may vary a lot. But the musicians are all there for a common cause, and comparison and competition don’t really have a place. The players are simply there to celebrate the joy in the music, contributing however they can.

An audience is a big part of a musician’s world too, whether it be a crowd of millions or an audience of one. The recent worldwide pandemic threw my appreciation for listeners into sharp relief. I’ve never appreciated an audience more, or realized my dependence on those there to listen, until they were temporarily absent.

Exploring the value of audiences further, I’ve heard that people who know they are going to die sometimes request a last song to be played or sung for them by friends or family before they depart this life. I’ve recently wondered if I’ve ever unknowingly been part of recording a CD track that was specifically requested by someone about to pass away. If so, I would consider it a special honor. I would feel as though I were a part of their journey, strangers though we may be.

Like many people, I value these types of connection—connecting to a friend, a fellow violinist from the community, an audience, or even a stranger—through music. Music has a spiritual and emotional power. I’m incredibly grateful for the unifying power of good music in this world and how it brings out the best in people, time and time again.

See another post about how music opens doors to new friendships here.

Love it Interesting Inspiring Want to share
0000

    <    >   

        

This content has been proven to be completely dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, and made from code not treated with rBST. No animals were harmed in the making of this blog. The views presented do not necessarily represent the views of Ms. Shaskin's neighbors, kin, the U.S. government, or a mysterious worldwide network of musicians. Any reproduction, retransmission or reposting of content without crediting the author (basically me) is prohibited. Free Wi-Fi not included. If this is a life-threatening emergency, close your browser and dial 911.