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
    Mar
        06 - Singing in Orchestra
        13 - Nurtured by Love
        21 - Helpful Websites
        27 - Unique Case Uses
    Apr
        02 - Favorite Music Quotes
        10 - All About Tone
        17 - Unique Composer Stories
        24 - Teaching Values
    May
        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
    Jul
        07 - Clever Violin Memes
        20 - Horses and Lions
    Aug
        04 - Music During Covid
        16 - Favorite Music
    Sep
        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
    Sep
    Oct
        11 - 100 Days of Listening
    Nov
        27 - Useful Analogies
    Dec
        28 - A Humorous Anecdote
2023
    Jan
        14 - Favorite Concertos & Sonatas
    Feb
        15 - Our Commonality
    Mar
        10 - Extras
        18 - Autopilot
    Apr
    May
    Jun
        06 - Motivation
        07 - Starting Lessons Again
    Jul
        08 - A Tale of Three Cloths
    Aug
        26 - The Ink
    Sep
        23 - Raw and Real Recital Reactions
    Oct
        18 - In Honor of Halloween
    Nov
        26 - Music Copyright
    Dec
        13 - Memes: Fun Facebook Finds
2024
    Jan
        15 - Fame and Fortune
    Feb
        05 - Details and the Big Picture
    Mar
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Posts


Starting Lessons Again
07 Jun 2023

Three factors went into me deciding to take lessons again. Each involves a story that occurred in the last few years. One story involves an influential friend. One involves an influential student. And one includes an influential demonstration of skill by my future teacher.

I have a friend who has done remarkable things with the violin. I’ve seen her progress so much with her skill over the years I’ve known her. She has ambition, patience, kindness, and a great work ethic—the perfect combination for achieving great success. Her name is Kerstin. She always has profound advice. Once I was asking her about her recent album on Light that she produced and if she had any tips for achieving personal goals. I wanted to know how to follow in her footsteps, but with my own style. She said something simple but with quiet assurance; something along the lines of, “If you really want something, God’s going to help make it happen.” I left that conversation with more hope and conviction.

Second story: I love all my students. Every now and then, you get one who stands out as a true inspiration to you as a teacher! I was so impressed with my student Emily’s preparation for lessons. She really took this part of her education seriously, and as a result, like my friend Kerstin, made leaps and bounds of progress. She took weekly hour-long private lessons from me, which meant a lot of time and material for a high school student, who was involved in many activities, to prepare on a regular basis. Yet, she always seemed to come to her lessons having practiced whatever I assigned.

I see myself in a lot of my students. But Emily had more wisdom than I did when I was young. I hate to admit that when I was particularly young, I often faked my way through my lessons, having the gift of being a good sight reader. I don’t think it ever occurred to me, at least until I saw it personally, as a teacher of similar students, that my teachers were probably aware of this habit of mine.

Emily was not that type of student. In fact, I specifically remember the one day that she came to her lesson and admitted she hadn’t practiced. She was legitimately concerned. As this was an unusual case for her, I was not concerned, and I immediately told her not to worry about it. But her genuine worry at her lack of preparation got the wheels spinning in my own mind. I suddenly remembered words of prophets, both in scripture and in modern times, which spoke of strengths turning into weaknesses if we’re not careful; or the parable of the talents: to paraphrase, 'that which they had being taken away.' And to quote, ". . . weakness is not our only vulnerability. Satan can also attack us where we think we are strong—in the very areas where we are proud of our strengths." (See Matthew 25, KJV, and Oaks, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall.") I realized I had started taking my talents for granted.

Third story: I was playing in an orchestra where my now-teacher, Julliard-trained violist Joel Rosenberg, was the conductor. At one point in rehearsal, he grabbed the concertmaster’s violin to demonstrate how he wanted a passage played. He only played a handful of notes, but immediately, my head came up from the back of the group. That was the tone and articulation I wanted in my own playing! I lived far away, but I approached him afterwards about the possibility of taking lessons. The COVID-19 pandemic struck in the months after we talked, interfering with the possibility of in-person lessons, but after the danger was past, a few years later, I again initiated the conversation. I was ready. I have been taking monthly lessons from him since that time: since the summer of 2022. (See Music Opens Doors post.)

For a long time, I thought, "I have my master’s degree in music education. I don’t need to take lessons anymore. What more can they possibly teach me?" But unbeknownst to myself, I was probably merely waiting for the right opportunity! I needed to find the right teacher in order to be inspired! Someone who was a more advanced musician than me.

Inspiration goes a long way. When you find someone who is both a good teacher and a good performer, that’s golden. It’s even better when they’re a caring, conscientious individual, as I’ve discovered Joel to be. Seek and ye shall find, the scriptures say, for a reason! I have been awed by possibilities that have emerged in this chapter of my life. I’m grateful for people placed in my path who said or did something meaningful, for it effected great, long-lasting impact on my future!

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