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
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        06 - Singing in Orchestra
        13 - Nurtured by Love
        21 - Helpful Websites
        27 - Unique Case Uses
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        02 - Favorite Music Quotes
        10 - All About Tone
        17 - Unique Composer Stories
        24 - Teaching Values
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        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
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        07 - Clever Violin Memes
        20 - Horses and Lions
    Aug
        04 - Music During Covid
        16 - Favorite Music
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        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
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Posts


Gratitude for Idaho Shop
20 Jun 2022

This is a bit of a shout-out to Richard Ferguson in Rexburg, ID. He owns a violin shop there. I recently took the Tooele Valley Youth Symphony on tour up to Idaho, and we stopped in at Ferguson Violins for a short visit. (Before our tour, Richard was instrumental in helping us get connected with the professors at BYU-ID, where we had one of the most substantial music days of our entire trip! He also recommended a nearby trail for hiking and even attempted to help us find a new bus when our transportation company bailed on us just over a week before our departure. All this before I ever met him in person. In other words, he went above and beyond to help us, which was so very appreciated!)

His very knowledgeable staff gave helpful, fascinating tours in three segments to our entire group! Our executive artistic director said the whole trip was worth it just for this one stop.

For instance, we learned that it costs roughly $200-300 for a decent block of maple or spruce (the wood choices used for the back and top of the violin, respectively, because of their strength, aesthetic beauty, and flexibility), even before it starts to get carved. Think of that the next time you're tempted to buy a $60 violin off of Amazon! We learned how to clean stringed instruments properly. A little bit of mild soap/detergent on a damp cloth is acceptable for removing grime, and Kleenex can remove excess rosin on the bow. I loved watching the process of rehairing a bow for the first time, learning about different wedges and exactly how many hairs are in a violin bow (200!). I learned that even if you take excellent care of your bow, always loosening the screw when you should, eventually (usually after a few years), you'll have to get it rehaired, simply because with the repeated tightening of the bow when you play, the horsehair will gradually get stretched out over time. Siberian horsehair is a common choice because of it's consistency and steady growth in the cold climates.

Richard demonstrated a passage or two on his violin, and I was impressed with his skill. He also let me play on some of his violins and measured my head so he could create an acoustic aid custom-built for me, which he said would change my life--something he called "egg ears" (pictured). He mentioned to our small group that it's a common mistake for people to try to find a new violin that sounds smooth and silky under their ear, when really, you should be looking for something that, to you at least, sounds like it has a bit of radio interference. When you hear that, you know the instrument is capable of more than just one type of tone, and it won't come across as muddy to your listeners! The "egg ears" let you hear what your audience would hear, which is a smooth, silky tone even when the good violin sounds much more gritty to the one playing it, normally. All in all, it was a great experience. I appreciate meeting people in life who are not just excellent at their craft, but who are good folks who leave you feeling privileged for the chance to interact with them. People who make you want to live life better. Thanks, Richard and crew, for being amazing hosts, and for graciously imparting your expertise!

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