Chapter 4: Sorrowfully 3
“Stop, just then, you forced the sound a little right? Try again, a bit softer. Keep the legato going without a single pause.”
“Neuer! The ornament should be expressed sharper and quicker. It’s weird to hear if you go in slowly like a worm. Again.”
“Neuer Regung füllt–.”
“Good. Next time you sing ‘Dies’, sing more sorrowfully. Those are the emotions of a boy who has discovered the feeling of love for the first time. More like ‘Dies–’.”
The more the lesson progressed, the more Kwak Jungsoo felt strange.
Jo Yunjae this guy...
He’s a bit weird.
3 weeks ago, the first disciple he got was definitely a beginner amongst beginners. A common beginner that had not practised before, with lacking breath and no high notes. It felt strange that his pronunciation and some other stuff were perfect but because the basics were inexistent, that had no point.
He had taken in a beginner as a disciple.
There was nothing to complain about. He had come back to Korea to rest, not to find himself a great disciple.
...But what was this speed?
Blankly giving words of compliment, he crossed his arms and stared at Jo Yunjae, his first disciple. And he who had interestingly brought a Magic Flute aria ambitiously, despite being a beginner,
Had built high notes on the 1st week,
Built up his breath on the 2nd,
And on the 3rd week...
He was singing a pretty decent song.
“O, wenn ich sie nur finden könnte!”
Kwak Jungsoo focused his all and analysed Jo Yunjae’s song.
Pronunciation. It was unclear where he had learned it, but it was perfect.
Vowels and expression – when he gave a few advice, Jo Yunjae suddenly started making a few sounds before quickly getting better.
Vocalisation – except for some parts where it became unstable due to the lack of physical talent, it was perfected to a level that was similar to himself.
And soon, a song with almost no blemishes to point out on was heard.
“Warm und rein!”
Staring at Jo Yunjae singing his heart out, Kwak Jungsoo even started to feel dumbfounded. How can someone develop at this speed?
If he were to record the process of Jo Yunjae’s development and upload it, it would definitely get scoffed at with comments saying that it was rigged – it was a development speed that outrageous. It even gave off a feeling that he was merely in the process of remembering what had been lost.
‘Was he really ill like what teacher Hong Yoojin had said?’
His deep thoughts soon came to an end with Jo Yunjae’s soft voice.
“An diesen heissen Busen drücken.”
While listening, he shook his head. No, even if he had lost his basics, it still did not make any sense. There must be a different reason, something clearer and closer to the core...
Right, there was only one reason Kwak Jungsoo could think of.
Did he say his ears were good? Jo Yunjae had completely demonstrated that throughout the lesson. A sound that was pointed out as bad was never repeated, and when Kwak Jungsoo gave an example, he could repeat the exact same sound. Besides, most of his analyses were correct.
And when he came to himself after some back and forths, Jo Yunjae’s song that was extremely similar to his own had been perfected.
Kwak Jungsoo gave a nod.
‘In other words, his ability to absorb other songs is excellent...’
It was a type of talent that he had seen a few times – opera singers that could copy well. These people usually started off slow, but as they gained experiences from listening to good performances, they would develop to frightening levels.
The so-called late bloomers.
He should be a late bloomer but...
Kwak Jungsoo was lost for words as he stared at Jo Yunjae finish a song without a problem.
Why was he already bloomed?
After barely suppressing the astonishment, he opened his mouth.
“...Let’s stop here for today.”
Looking over at the clock, it had already been around 2 hours since the lesson had begun. Teaching Jo Yunjae who practised without a single rest made him unable to realise how long had passed.
Gazing at the somewhat blank Jo Yunjae, Kwak Jungsoo felt a stuffy feeling in his heart. His disciple not only had the talent but also practised hard that almost made him appear like a fool.
Raising the pitch higher as well as increasing breath in short periods of time wouldn’t have been easy and yet he pulled it off with crazy practices. He did all that by himself and every week, he was like a new person.
And during that process, what Kwak Jungsoo had done was...
His eyes sunk in deep.
Although he was showing off here and giving lessons, he was nothing but a mere lecturer. He was lacking a lot in his career and other aspects compared to teacher Ku Mingi who had been keen for this genius.
Did he have the qualification to teach this guy? He wondered, when Jo Yunjae’s voice suddenly entered from the side.
“Um... sir. With this, will the Improvement Concert... be okay?”
His eyes met with Jo Yunjae’s. Behind those black irises, he could see the burning passion.
Of course, you did well – he was about to say that before closing his mouth in thought. ‘Okay’. Of course the song was okay. If it was average people, anyone would’ve given nods for sure saying that there was no problem and that it was good.
But to people with ears like Jo Yunjae’s, wouldn’t their ‘okay’s be different to the normal definition of the word?
He suddenly remembered the first day he met Jo Yunjae who had then calmly declared that he would give up on the concours to receive a scholarship. And... Kwak Jungsoo now knew that to get a scholarship, he had to come first out of the music department students.
After closing his mouth for a while, he slowly opened his lips.
“...It should be okay.”
The sight of his disciple brightening up entered his eyes.
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With a deep bow, Jo Yunjae left the practice room, and left alone inside, Kwak Jungsoo sat on the chair. He searched for something inside his clothes, but then remembered that he had quit smoking and soon took his hand back out.
It was frustrating. There was nothing he could do, and all he could do was sit here and keep thinking. What was something he could do?
After a long contemplation, he slowly moved his hand to the phone and gave a call.
Along with the sound of the connection, he slowly opened his lips.
“... Teacher Hong Yoojin, are you perhaps... going to the Improvement Concert this week as a judge?”
Standing before the display stands, I was in a deep thought, and before me were two containers covered in black.
Cacao 70% and 80%
Which one was better
As I stood there for a long time comparing the two chocolates in my two hands, Lee Suh-ah who seemed to have found that annoying clenched hard.
“Hurry up and choose.”
I’m making an important decision.
Seeing me, who was doing some strange things while wearing the Future Arts High uniform, the people gathered their eyes.
Any Future Arts High student would’ve visited here at least once. It was a large supermarket that was close, had a lot of stuff and food. It was literally perfect.
The sentence ‘let’s ask for a leave’ could be interchanged with ‘let’s go to Full Mart’ and that was how much this market was visited.
It was the same for me.
Before the start of the Improvement Concert, I had asked for a leave because there were a few things I needed to buy and Lee Suh-ah had some stuff to buy as well so we left together.
And that was the current situation.
While I was in the midst of indecisiveness between the two chocolates, Lee Suh-ah couldn’t hold it in any more and finally exploded.
“What’s so different that makes you take so much time?”
I could see her hitting her chest in frustration.
Tch, how would a sparrow even guess the thoughts of a phoenix?
After heaving a sigh I gave her a reply.
“Of course they’re different – the amount of cacao is. Cacao has this ability to coat the throat so after having 70%, you can make a lighter sound while 80% makes a heavier sound.”
“It has a substance similar to raw egg. It’s annoying to eat that every time so I’m changing it up with chocolate.”
Seeing her doubtful expression, I gave her a natural nod.
Of course not.
It was just that I had a jinx myself that I had to have chocolate to sing better, and there was nothing significant inside the chocolate itself.
I think chocolate sort of makes the throat wet?
Without caring about Lee Suh-ah who was trying her hardest to find out about the effect of cacaos on her phone, I finally stood on the side of 70%.
“Hmm... I guess to express the subtle emotions within the Magic Flute’s aria, a lighter chocolate would be better?”
Stopping the phone for a while, Lee Suh-ah nodded seriously.
“Wouldn’t 60% be better than 70% in expressing it?”
Ohh she can give recommendations now? She was like a cacao expert.
Barely holding in the laughter that was threatening to escape, I stiffened my expression and nodded.
“As expected of the best soprano of Future Arts High, you know something. Good, I’ll follow your call and go with a 60%.”
“Don’t mind it.”
When I gave her a clap, her face showed a slight sign of pride.
Kukuk, this is funny.
And my cacao/chocolate appreciation that continued for a while was concluded by Lee Suh-ah finding out the truth on the internet.
“Annoying. Jo Yunjae.”
Watching her glare at me before walking away first, I shrugged my shoulders.
I’m telling you the effect is tremendous, it’s just that it hasn’t been scientifically proven yet. With a joyous feeling, I took out a container of chocolate as the sweetness filled the mouth.
Ah, this is it.
As I walked back towards the school while enjoying that flavour of the chocolate, something went past my peripheral vision.
I flicked my head and as expected, I wasn’t wrong and it definitely was a Future Arts High uniform. There was no way I would mistake that navy-coloured skirt. Is she on a leave?
Well, I was on leave myself so there was no reason why others couldn’t, but the place she came out from was weird. When I glanced up, bright, sparkling signboards were hanging on the building.
[Ara Internet Cafe]
From that devilish location, a girl walked out, tapping away at her phone with the head facing down. She had black fluttering hair, with thick puffer jackets, through which a glimpse of the Future Arts High uniform and a green nameplate was visible.
Judging from her crude walking posture, she gave off a feeling that she had been playing around until just then.
After examining her for a while, I soon lost interest and headed back towards the school. Surrounded by fences in the midst of the city, I could see the hall of performing arts. Brown dorms and the white building were visible even from the other side of the road, as well as the word ‘Future Performing Arts High School’.
And inside that white building, there was the Future Hall with more than 300 seats. I felt like my hands could reach it.
Tomorrow, was the day of the Improvement Concert.
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