Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations
About the Book
Strings Attached is the story of a brilliant but ferocious music teacher who came to be known as "Mr. K" told in the alternating first person perspectives of his former student, award-winning journalist Joanne Lipman, and his daughter, Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist Melanie Kupchynsky.
A Ukrainian immigrant who survived an abusive childhood, Mr. K used music as a means of escape. The authors bring the extraordinary character of Mr. K to life — from his days as a forced Nazi laborer to his home life as a husband to an invalid wife to the terrifying challenges he hurtled from behind the music stand, in a thick Ukrainian accent.
Mr. K pushed his students harder than their parents, harder than their other teachers and coaches, and through sheer force of will made them better than they had any right to be. It wasn’t until years later that his students realized how much they loved him for it. At Mr. K's memorial service, three generations of students flew in from all over the country to play a concert in his memory, having finally understood his tough lessons.
Mr. K’s subject was music, but the lessons he taught were universal ones about resilience, the power of a “can do” attitude, and achieving excellence in life. Strings Attached tells Mr. K’s story — a narrative that is itself as absorbing as fiction — giving readers the opportunity to experience the lessons of the world’s toughest teacher for themselves.