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John Chew

Last Day of School

June 28, 2006 at 11:56 AM

Last day of school for NYC public school teachers. I get the summer off as well. I am teaching one graduate course to new teachers coming into the system. It has been a great deal of fun. When I am done with the summer course I look forward to uninterrupted time to practice!

I am reading a great book (recommended by Evil Linda) - "Heifetz - As I Knew Him" by Ayke Agus (I bought a bunch of violin-related books recently from Amazon). It is a great read and chronicles Ms. Agus's relationship with Heifetz first as his masterclass student and then as his accompanist on the piano. I am only two chapters into it and enjoy the book very much so far. I bought it cheaply used on

From Man Wong
Posted on June 28, 2006 at 9:49 PM
Hi, John.

Peace be w/ you.

Finally got around to signing up and posting a comment to your blog. :-) Sorry it took me forever to get back to you after receiving your email a couple months ago. This seems like a nice place for your violin blog. Hey, that's a very nice new violin you got from -- I actually read a little about it on the Stringworks forums shortly before you got it. :-) And I remember reading something about that nice new carbon fiber bow too, but I'm all too new to this violin bizz to comment on such.

And yes, I finally got around to joining the new Suzuki program w/ Jackie at the nearby Brooklyn Conservatory this past spring. :-) We haven't gotten very far yet, but Jackie's learning the 2nd song in Book 1 now while I'm learning the next 2 after that (and whatever relevant techniques and also fiddling w/ some other simple songs in between though trying to play "My Favorite Things" is quite difficult for this newbie :-p ). We will probably also sign Josh up for Suzuki class soon though I'm not sure how things will work out during the summer due to the conservatory's current policy -- Josh has learned a little by osmosis, and he's been very interested to learn.

And oh, btw, we're unexpectedly expecting baby #3 at year's end/new year! Maybe we'll manage to get a family string quartet going 10 or so years from now. ;-)

Anyway, the family is doing well in general, and we've finally got around to doing some needed renovations. Since you'll have free time during the summer, maybe you can come visit and jam w/ us a little -- well, that is if you don't mind playing Twinkle again... ;-)

God bless and take care...


From Stephen Brivati
Posted on June 29, 2006 at 4:39 AM
Hi John. I really liked that book, too. I think it is about as honest and reliable a chronicle we are ever going to get of the great man and yes it is gut wrenching by the end.
The only aspect of it that does disappoint is cocnernign the violin playing. First because although there are some small exmaples of thinking about and working on the violin that come from Heifetz this information is very sparse considering Aykes claim to be a decent violinist, which I have just a little reason to dispute. Actually, not he rpalying but her perceptivness. She writes about the Heifetz masterclass videos taht they were staged (that is very true) . But then she goes on to add that we cannot see the true merit of the classes because , as a result of the staging it is hard to see the disparity o level betwene master and student. That is the biggets load of nonsense I have ever heard. i have watched those tapes dozens of times and I cna tell you that when Heifetz picks up the violin and plays he is so darn far abocve the level of even stduents liek Friedman it is embarassing. Well not really embarassing- it is what one would have expected. This rather disturbing and extreme error of perception leads me to approahc the whole volume with a little bit less trust than I might otherwise have shown. Incidentally, I haven`t read the other book `Heifetz through my eyes` by Sherry Kloss, but a lot of people who have read it say it is absolutely awful, sentimental drivel. The aAYk book remains an importnat contribution,
From Linda Lerskier
Posted on July 1, 2006 at 9:18 PM
Muahaha! I'm glad. :)

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