Cami Shaskin

Violin Blog

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Our Quartet
29 MAY 2021


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 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."


Quick Access


        16 - Welcome to My Blog
        23 - Violin Teaching Kits
        30 - The Power of Inspiration
        06 - Valuable Techniques
        07 - From the Top
        13 - In Honor of Valentine's Day
        20 - Violin Jokes
        28 - Beginning Orchestra Teaching
        06 - Singing in Orchestra
        13 - Nurtured by Love
        21 - Helpful Websites
        27 - Unique Case Uses
        02 - Favorite Music Quotes
        10 - All About Tone
        17 - Unique Composer Stories
        24 - Teaching Values
        02 - Believing Teachers?
        15 - Violin in Art & Architecture
        23 - A Solo Repertoire List
        29 - Our Quartet
        20 - Theft and Other Lessons
        26 - Violin Bridge Tips
        07 - Clever Violin Memes
        20 - Horses and Lions
        04 - Music During Covid
        16 - Favorite Music
        12 - Being There
        16 - Sight Reading Tips
        05 - Why It's the Frog
        20 - Bach on the Brain
        30 - Impact for Life
        23 - Tendonitis Helps
        21 - An Old Performance
        23 - Cars3 & Coaching
        28 - Buying a Violin for Dummies
        29 - Preferred Brands
        27 - Love: A Calling
        20 - Gratitude for Idaho Shop
        19 - Violinist Interviews Books
        08 - Music Opens Doors
        23 - Top Classical Tunes for Violin
        11 - 100 Days of Listening
        27 - Useful Analogies
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Horses and Lions
20 Jul 2021
I'd like to point out one of the most helpful commodities you can enjoy as a musician. No, it isn't an expensive instrument. Nor is it a famous pedagogue. It is simply this: a colleague who believes in you and consistently sticks up for you.

If I ever had to work hard in a career, it was as a public educator of music. (See post here.) In fact, if teaching private lessons were akin to owning a housecat, teaching in the public schools would be akin to owning a lion. Not only are you baffled at what to do with it, you can't show your insecurity, or you'll be eaten alive! Only those who have tried it can fully relate. There were keen disappointments, looming mountains of setbacks, and an overall lack of support in my early teaching years.

Faced with the chance to become a teacher in the public eye again after giving it up indefinitely, I regurgitated to my new friend, a wonderful teacher herself, some of my fears and past failures—fully expecting a sympathetic nod of agreement and understanding. But I got more than I bargained for . . . in the best possible sense!

For starters, she didn't seem surprised or uncomfortable, though I certainly felt that way as I sat there shaken up and in tears over this cruel world. Rather than jump on the bandwagon of supporting me in my trepidation . . . rather than responding with, "Oh, I'm sorry that happened," or offering the kind but misguided notion that teaching isn't for everyone, this wonderful woman responded with confidence. After I spelled out how I had tried and failed, she looked thoughtful. She said, "You know, you actually have an advantage. With these experiences, you know all the ways NOT to teach. And you're going to be an amazing teacher because of it!"

I thought of the words of Marvin J. Ashton: "Yes, a friend is a person who is willing to take me the way I am but who is willing and able to leave me better than he found me."

Her confidence in me awoke similar confidence from deep within myself. It really did take courage to climb back on the horse. It is not an overstatement to say her words inspired me. Unlike other mentors in my life, she wasn't going to chance me falling off. I was going to stay in Music Education if she had any say in it. She was hanging on to me!

I no longer felt expendable, like the music program people didn't know what to do with—the elephant in the room that there was no room for. This program was critical. To add to the mystery of it all, for her, it wasn't just about the job that someone needed to step up to. For some reason, I was important. Apparently, I was worth sticking around for.
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