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Download Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations, by Joanne Lipman, Melanie Kupchynsky Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joanne Lipman, Melanie Kupchynsky Narrator: Eliza Foss, Kathleen McInerney Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This book makes me believe that one man can make a difference. The life and teachings of Jerry Kupchynsky, affectionately known as Mr K, certainly did for his daughter Melanie and her friend Joanne Lipman, and for legions of students whose lives were affected and changed by the powerful vision of this passionate, complex man. Even more importantly, this book reveals how music can become an anchor, a binding element for creating friendship and support during times of grief, illness, and tragedy. By being inspired, the authors themselves become inspirational. Mr. K’s work lives on, and we are all the richer for it.”

    Yo-Yo Ma, renowned cellist and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

  • “A joy to read—an affecting, emotional, triumphant story.”

    Amy Chua, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A very fine dual memoir...For those who had a figure like Mr. K in their lives, Strings Attached will resonate. Everyone else will wish they had been so lucky.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Strings Attached gives us many gifts. It allows us to look into the world of music; it reminds us of the promise of America to immigrants with ambition; it gives us a portrait of a man who struggled against great odds in life, who suffered great adversity, but who always forged ahead in spite of his many trials.... It also reminds us to be thankful for those teachers who made a difference in our lives, those who refused to listen to our excuses, those who terrorized us as did Mr. K., who pushed us to overcome obstacles, who took us out of ourselves and helped carry us toward our dreams.”

    Smoky Mountain News

  • “Inspirational lessons from the life of one tough teacher. Today’s parents who lament their children stressing over tests may be horrified by the themes of tough love and tenacity offered by this biographical tribute to the late Jerry Kupchynsky, ‘Mr. K,’ a gifted high-school strings teacher from East Brunswick, New Jersey, whose exacting methods helped spawn the careers of generations of musicians and educators…Surviving these early hardships helped instill in Mr. K an appreciation of adversity as a motivator, an unflagging belief in the value of hard work, and a willingness to fight for the underdog…Moving and motivating—a must-read for practicing professionals and would-be musicians.”

    Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)

  • “Part biography of a beloved teacher and father, part memoir, the book’s central character, music teacher Jerry ‘Mr. K’ Kupchynsky, looms larger than life on the page—just as he did for journalist Lipman, one of Mr. K’s violists, and Melanie, his elder daughter, now a violinist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His teaching methods are extreme—cracking the knuckle on a student’s thumb to emphasize correct finger placement—but glimpses of his family life soften his image…Central to the book is Melanie’s relationship with her younger sister, Stephanie. Lipman and Kupchynsky played together in a string quartet organized by Mr. K, of which Stephanie was also a part. In 1991, Stephanie disappeared from her apartment in upstate New York. The ensuing search, led by the Kupchynsky family and aided by Lipman, provides the mystery around which the reminiscences about Mr. K are organized…The authors’ memories are more powerful for not being embellished with preachy conclusions.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “If you’re a teacher, you’d want your students to write about you like this. If you’re not, this is the audiobook you wish you’d written about someone who had a profound effect on your life…Narrators Kathleen McInerney and Eliza Foss alternate the narration. McInerney’s voice is gentle and expressive, and she does a fine job with characters and intonation. Foss has a rather stern, pointed voice that grabs our attention and leads us through the text. Her voice is not as polished, but its authenticity lends her reading credibility and realism.”


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About the Author

Joanne Lipman is one of the nation’s most prominent journalists and commentators. She was a deputy managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and she was editor-in-chief of Portfolio. Currently, she is a Newsweek columnist and advisor to news organizations such as CNN and New York Public Radio. She is a frequent television commentator, appearing on CNN, CBS, and CNBC, among others.