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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Valuable Techniques
06 Feb 2021
10 Valuable Techniques I learned (and teach regularly) from the Suzuki Violin Method:
  • Posture (Pictures, Book 1)
  • Hopping fingers and “helicopter” bow lifts (Song of the Wind, Book 1)
  • Marcato (Allegro, Book 1)
  • Arpeggios, with distinct arm levels (Minuet No. 2, Book 1)
  • Ringing tone (Tonalization, Book 2)
  • Trill preparation (Gavotte from “Mignon,” Book 2)
  • Extensions (Gavotte by Lully, Book 2)
  • Bow placement, a.k.a. “lane changes,” during crescendos (Gavotte by Bach, Book 3)
  • Double stops (Seitz Concertos, Book 4)
  • Note length and style in Baroque vs. Classical (Books 1-10)
  • Listening and Memorization (Suzuki CD’s)

5 Valuable Techniques I learned outside Suzuki books:
  • Shuffles and Tag Endings –roughly age 7, from a Suzuki teacher in Utah
  • Sautillé –age 9, from a Brazilian teacher
  • Tenths –age 13, from a teacher in Minnesota
  • Arm vibrato –age 19, from a Russian teacher
  • The science behind harmonics –age 24, from a fellow orchestra member in Colorado

I was also taught as a young child how to write down music using old-fashioned manuscript paper and a pencil. In the current days of Finale and Notion and other composing apps/software, I feel this is a bit of a lost art, like cursive writing or tallying your own bowling game. But it's so helpful to learn, as technology is not always reliable or accessible. (For example, if you wanted to compose and distribute copies of a short tune while on an orchestra tour bus, it might be less-than-practical to use up a bunch of phone data and then wait around for access to a printer.) But I digress.

My point in this post is to reiterate that no matter what instruction we receive or where it comes from, we should try to find the value in it, even when the value seems small. To the extent possible, teachers ensure the weaknesses from their own playing become areas of strength for their students. We are all inspired, and let down, by mentors at various times. And as teachers, we try to pass on the good we receive from all walks of life. We share what works and what makes most sense, whether it originated from Europe, South America, a Russian Conservatory, Talent Education from Japan, a traditional teacher, a school orchestra program, a music camp, a selected university professor, our peers, or a favorite childhood teacher in our home state. My goal as a teacher is to get students excited about learning and improving—as violinists, yes, but also, like Shinichi Suzuki said, as “good citizens” with “beautiful hearts.”
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