Cami Shaskin

Violin Blog


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."


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Theft and Other Lessons
20 Jun 2021

It's fun to learn and see others learn. Sometimes learning is expensive. Often it comes after inexperience. But it's good to look back on old memories and realize how far you've come.

In teaching, I learned things like kids don't intuitively know how to spell the word "cello." (Not automatically having a background in the rules of the Italian language, they usually spelled it with an "h" after the "c." Makes sense, right??)

In orchestra performing, I learned that the stage isn't always big enough for the players to fit comfortably. (In one venue on a BYU tour, my stand partner tried adjusting her position and actually fell backwards off the stage, chair and all, violin held high so it wouldn't be damaged. Luckily, to my knowledge, no permanent damage was sustained to her, other than a little more excitement than she bargained for.)

In music therapy service I gave at a Colorado hospital one year, I learned that patients value their personal time and would rather finish a TV show than have folk, patriotic, or beautiful classical violin music thrust upon them. They called out from their rooms that they wanted the live music to stop! Luckily, the doctors and nurses loved it.

I also learned from experience to never share the monetary value of your instrument with anyone, even if they seem non-threatening, and to always trust your instinct when you get a gut feeling about something. In 2010, I was single and living with roommates in Salt Lake City. One fateful evening, I decided to take my violin over to my neighbor's house and play for them as a way to introduce myself. After playing some nice tunes for them, they commented on how pretty it was and asked me about my violin. I said too much, apparently. Two days later, I woke up with a dark feeling. I had the inspirational thought to take my violin with me to work, but I pushed it aside, thinking there was no reason I would need my violin there.

At about 10 a.m., after I left the house, a group of people broke through the dead-bolted door while one of my roommates was asleep downstairs. She heard some commotion but figured we, her roommates, were just making extra noise getting ready for the day. She got up some time later to find that we had been robbed. It was almost entirely my belongings that were stolen. They took a laptop from one of the other girls. From me, they took my new laptop, my guitar, a full CD case containing over 50 purchased discs and irreplaceable recordings of live performances, a bag of home videos . . . and my violin. Ironically, my laptop, which had come with a theft protection service, was recovered, and a warrant was issued for the responsible party's arrest. But she never showed up to court, and the trail went cold.

As I said, some learning is expensive. And maybe I could have been saved some of those expensive consequences if I had given heed to inspiration. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, I believe in inspiration and spiritual protection. I believe I was being warned by the Holy Ghost that day to keep my violin with me. Though I didn't recognize the warning for what it was, at least clearly enough at the time, I still learned from that experience. And it was clear that morning that something bad was about to happen. It was obvious enough that I paused, and prayed we'd be protected. And that prayer was answered. I am grateful my roommate wasn't hurt. I am grateful, too, that learning occurs throughout our lives, if we are smart enough to recognize the patterns.

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