Act 8: Lively 10
Many singers had their own unique behaviours before singing.
These behaviours which were also called a routine, were similar to self mind-control. Most of the singers had several of these routines which they carried out either consciously or unconsciously.
Like Jo Yunjae, they could munch on things or breathe in and out to control their breaths. There were various other routines like doing squats to make their voices heavier and meditating while sitting still.
Sitting down on the piano chair and fidgeting with the ends of her skirt, Lee Suh-ah stared at Jo Yunjae.
Of course, Jo Yunjae had a few of these routines as well. Lee Suh-ah had already observed a lot and firstly, the most obvious one would be munching on chocolate.
She observed that behaviour before large contests and important situations. According to himself, it felt like his throat was being coated but it was something she couldn’t understand.
‘Don’t you usually get a phlegm after eating chocolate?’
Tilting her head, Lee Suh-ah stared at Jo Yunjae with squinted eyes.
The next routine was closing his eyes. Jo Yunjae had the habit of closing his eyes and breathing in and out before almost any songs.
‘Is he controlling his mind?’
Lee Suh-ah who had been focused on observing Jo Yunjae’s routines folded her arms when she saw him staying still.
He was repeatedly breathing in and out.
Gotten the hang of embedding emotions was it?
Quietly, she had been staring at the front before suddenly finding the current situation somewhat amusing.
To think that I would be waiting for someone else’s song like this.
It was natural because in the first place, she wasn’t very interested in other people in general. In fact, it would be correct to say that she was way too indifferent to other people.
In her present situation, there was no time to lay her eyes on anything other than songs, because she had to come first in order to help her family.
During the Future Middle School days, it wasn’t difficult to get that title.
The teachers had always complimented her on her songs and keeping up with the studies was possible as long as she put in the effort. Although it was unfortunate that she couldn’t reach Kim Wuju’s songs, she could keep the first place thanks to him having no interest in studies.
However, it all changed after entering high school.
With her eyes facing the front, Lee Suh-ah slightly bit on her lips.
Jo Yunjae – a kid who she initially wasn’t interested in like every other student.
His imbalance in singing skills was strange but she didn’t think of him as a threat because she hadn’t met anyone that could fight her on the same level apart from Kim Wuju.
However, after a repetition of improvements, he was right behind her before she could realise it and now, he made her feel something strange which she hadn’t even felt from Kim Wuju.
Kim Wuju whom she couldn’t pass by had been jumped over by Jo Yunjae.
Stabilising her quivering eyes, Lee Suh-ah clenched and stared directly at him.
Good; he was amazing.
But that didn’t mean she would stay behind all the time.
Things she didn’t know could be learned. If she was lacking practices, it just meant that she had to put in more effort. Although she hadn’t been living for that long, that was how she achieved everything she wanted thus far.
Song, dream and family – everything.
Her eyes which carried anxiety started to inspect Jo Yunjae in his entirety.
After having finished the preparations, I tilted my head when I looked forward.
Somehow the atmosphere felt weird. To be more specific, Lee Suh-ah’s aura had suddenly changed.
Her prideful eyes were opened so wide that it appeared scary and her lips were closed tightly as if she was concentrating on something. Seriousness was evident in her expression and her eyebrows were raised up like she was angry.
Did she get mad because of that short preparation?
She was such an impatient kid.
Clicking my tongue, I immediately started the song for Lee Suh-ah.
Che gelida manina.
After diligently reading through the original work which had been written in Italian and memorising the lyrics off by heart during the weekend, I somewhat understood the characters.
A poor poet, Rodolfo.
The passionate poet full of dreams, Rodolfo was passionate even in love. After falling in love at first sight, he sang a serenade immediately towards a woman he saw for the first time.
At a glance, he appeared like a purely innocent youth but was in fact a sly character who would hide things in secret to hit on that lady.
That was why I had to hide that cheekiness even within the courtesy.
“Che gelida manina–”
[What a frozen little hand]
Gently, I was hitting on a lady I met for the first time but even in the midst of that, I embedded some lightness, much brighter than when I had first sung it.
No, that wasn’t the correct way to put it.
Rather than making it bright intentionally, it was closer to a song flowing out naturally.
I mean now, I know why Rodolfo had sung this song.
To hit on her, he had hidden the key and while saying that her hand was cold, he sneakily touched it.
Would a character like that be heavy or light?
It would naturally be a light tone. Even without much thought, that was the image that popped up inside my heart. That naturalness which I gained was embedded into the voice in a matter of fact manner.
“Se la lasci riscaldar.”
[Let me warm it for you.]
I made a faint grin as I continued with the song.
It felt somewhat strange.
It was quite different from back then when I had been fully absorbed in emotions. There was a lot more leisure now and I could glance around and think about my techniques.
Thinking about it, perhaps it was an obvious matter.
Why did I even have to be absorbed?
Let’s say that there was a song that required 100 emotions to empathise and that I had 100 empathy towards that song. In that case, I would naturally have to pour in everything to be able to express my emotions. That was ‘being absorbed’ and the reason why I couldn’t care about the techniques.
However if I could understand the character deeper and empathised 200 and 300 with the song,
Even if I didn’t pour in my everything, those emotions would leak out naturally. After all, I just knew it and even without doing anything consciously, I just understood it.
The empathy which I had gained after connecting it to my poor past was amplified by my understanding of the character.
[Taken by hope!]
With a relaxed heart, I looked forward after finishing the song. Seeing Lee Suh-ah blinking her eyes, I asked.
“How was it?”
Mumbling her words, Lee Suh-ah looked for the words before glaring at me and heaving out a sigh. Then, she rolled her eyes and pretended to be in deep thought.
Her expression seemed quite busy.
I stared at her with a slightly nervous mood, when she finally opened her mouth.
Lee Suh-ah made a sullen expression.
“I think you might have gotten a bit better…”
“So did I get better or not?”
“It feels like you did but at the same time it doesn’t, so sing one more time.”
I sang again.
After finishing the song, I stared at Lee Suh-ah who then opened her mouth with a focused look.
“…I think you got a little better so just one last time…”
I sang again.
Lee Suh-ah who was now leaning forward so much that she might roll out of her seat tapped on the chair in irritation.
“Wait! How did you do that just then! Do it again.”
“…What are you doing… I asked for feedback.”
After coming to herself, Lee Suh-ah postured herself straight and ran her fingers through her hair with a prim expression.
…Even if she did that, it was already too late.
Glancing down at her who was avoiding eye-contact, I folded my arms with a grin. Judging from how Lee Suh-ah was acting, I seemed to have gotten a lot better since she was quite stingy when it came to giving me compliments.
During all the practices so far, she had never given me that attitude after all.
Indeed, it worked well when I followed teacher Kwak Jungsoo’s teaching. As expected of the great teacher!
Feeling the slow uprise of happiness, I was smiling with my lips raised when Lee Suh-ah slowly opened her mouth after stealing a glance.
“What. Give me my feedback first.”
“Uhum… It’s quite good now. Un.”
That’s good. Fortunately, I was able to somewhat learn it before the prac tests.
If I put this into my prac songs, I would have a higher chance of winning right… After all, teacher Kwak Jungsoo said that even Kim Wuju wouldn’t be able to properly embed emotions in yet.
With my hand on my chin, I contemplated when Lee Suh-ah hesitantly asked.
“So how did you do it?”
Seeing Lee Suh-ah glancing up pitifully, I scratched my head.
Well, since she was the one that discovered this ‘emotion’ thing, it wasn’t like I couldn’t tell her and there was also the fact that she helped me with my practices.
However, the problem was that it was highly likely that she might not be able to learn this even if I told her. Since I had my experiences which served as the foundational basis, I could amplify my emotions by understanding the characters but Lee Suh-ah was only 17 so how would she put in any emotions?
Has she fallen in love before or experienced heartbreaking separations? She looked just like a young lady of a rich family and appeared like she never had any worries let alone feeling despair.
In other words, multiplying 0 emotions by 99999 would still result in 0.
But since she asked, I couldn’t ignore her. When I roughly explained the method, Lee Suh-ah formed a bright smile and gave a nod.
I think it was my first time seeing Lee Suh-ah give such a bright smile. With a myriad of emotions, I stared at her when she suddenly shook her head before packing her things up.
“I’m going to go investigate a bit!”
“Yeah… See you tomorrow.”
“Un. Thanks a lot. See you tomorrow!”
Watching her leave after a repetition of thanks, I scratched the back of my neck.
…It probably won’t work though.
Maybe I shouldn’t have told her.
Now, when the prac test was right before us, I practised non-stop as the time flew past.
During that, I polished my ‘sword style changes’, ‘emotions’ and the high C I learned in preparation for the prac test. Changing the vocalisation, I practised Elf King and while putting in the emotions and high C, I prepared the second prac song.
I received a lot of help from my friends during all that.
Especially when it came to ‘emotions’, it needed to reach out to the majority instead of just one or two people to be considered a true incorporation of emotions.
So I had to practise enough until I could move the hearts of almost everyone.
To achieve that, I received feedback from not just Lee Suh-ah but also from teacher Ku Mingi, Noh Jusup, Chloe, Han Dasom etc. I received at least one feedback from my friends and received a lot of help.
Today, it was Chloe, Han Dasom and Lee Suh-ah who came to listen.
Chloe who had been playing the piano for the accompaniment made a face of admiration.
“It’s really good!”
Throwing my glance towards Lee Suh-ah, I found her looking at me with sunken eyes. After a while, she nodded her head after a sigh.
As expected, it didn’t work out huh.
It wasn’t strange because rather than a difference of skills, it was because of the overwhelming difference in experience. Me who was using almost 40 years of experience as a 17 year old was the one cheating.
I stared at her with a slightly apologetic heart when Han Dasom interjected from the side.
“Un. It feels like it’s ringing my heart… Won’t the teachers like it as well…? Yes, they will for sure.”
“Un… I think I liked it more than Kim Wuju’s.”
Seeing Han Dasom staring at me with sparkling eyes, I felt my tension being relaxed a little.
Better than Kim Wuju…
Although I couldn’t take Han Dasom’s words at face value, I was still grateful that she said that.
I made a faint smile and watched Han Dasom before turning my phone on to have a look at the calendar.
3 days left until the prac test.
There weren’t many days left for me to pour in everything I could.