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."


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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Unique Composer Stories
17 Apr 2021

Most non-musicians remember that Beethoven was deaf or that Mozart was a child prodigy. But did you know these lesser-known facts about famous composers? Many were faced with all-too-familiar challenges . . .

Vivaldi actually lost his teaching job once. Vivaldi taught, performed, and composed throughout Italy in the 1700's, including at an orphanage in Venice. Apparently the board at the orphanage had mixed feelings as to whether or not he should remain employed there. They voted each year in regards to his job. In fact, in 1709, the vote came back 7 to 6 against having him stay. (See link here.) After a year in which Vivaldi subsisted as a freelance musician, the board voted unanimously to bring him back. Apparently, they realized the extent of his contributions during the time he was gone.

Tchaikovsky strongly disliked his [arguably] most famous composition, the Nutcracker. He is quoted as writing, "The ballet is infinitely worse than 'The Sleeping Beauty'—of this I'm sure." (Source here) Incidentally, his ballet Sleeping Beauty was used by Walt Disney Studios as the basis for much of the music in their 1959 animated film of the same name—one of the few times established classical music was used rather than original songs written specifically for the movie. (Source1; Source2)

Chopin, a brilliant composer of piano works in particular, some of which have been adapted for violin, suffered from stage fright in a major way. Though an accomplished pianist, Chopin gave less than 40 public performances, his last performance occurring when he was 26. In Franz Liszt's biography of Chopin, he is quoted as saying, "An audience intimidates me, I feel asphyxiated by its eager breath, paralyzed by its inquisitive stare, silenced by its alien faces." (Angel, Amanda. "Top Five Infamous Cases of Stage Fright." WQXR Blog,18 March 2015, Accessed 6 January 2018.)

Shinichi Suzuki, founder of the Talent Education movement (a.k.a. Suzuki Method, originating in Japan) was friends with Albert Einstein, who, interestingly enough, also played the violin—rather well, in fact. (See Suzuki's short anecdotal book, Nurtured by Love.)

Mozart, an extrovert as well as a complete genius, would get bored with music-making and apparently liked to imitate cats as a diversion. (Source)

Verdi earned the modern equivalent of over 3.3 million dollars for the composition of his opera, Aida, making him the third richest classical composer in history, next to Johann Strauss II and Gershwin as #1. Maybe making music really does come with its financial perks . . . sometimes. Of course, more people might relate to Mozart. He died penniless, allegedly due to poor money management practices. (Source) But there are better things than fame and fortune anyway, right?
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