Act 11: Slowly 7
The moment I picked up the phone, I could hear the teacher’s thick voice.
[Yunjae. Do you have some time?]
I quickly thought of the timetable in my head.
So… the regular lessons for today have ended with the club session and… there weren’t any particular practices or promises regarding practising together with other kids. Actually, I was thinking of shutting myself in a practice room but, it’s something that could be ignored whenever the teacher is calling so…
After finishing the calculations, I gave a quick reply.
“Yes sir. Time? Of course I’m okay.”
[Right. Then come to the usual place.]
As the phone call came to a stop, I turned my eyes to it feeling peculiar when Han Dasom, sitting modestly to the side, asked.
“Is it from the teacher…?”
“Yeah. He’s calling me for some reason…”
It was strange, because he normally wasn’t the type to call people like this.
Teacher Kwak Jungsoo… was someone that believed in a non-interference education so it was even rare for him to contact me first without me looking for him.
He was the type that quietly took care of others from the back.
Is there something urgent he needs to say today? Thinking that, I tilted my head when a person entered my sight.
Black hair fluttering in a dignified manner, the nose appearing like it could soar through the skies, eyes sparkling in arrogance and a confident expression with curled up lips.
It was Song Mirae.
As if she was a victorious general returning from a battle, she took large steps forward and soon stood in front of me before glancing at Han Dasom and changing her expression. From the look of leisure, it changed to a scoff, “Puht.”
Seeing that annoying look on her face, Han Dasom formed a dumbfounded expression.
“Ah~ Dasom, you were there?”
Seemingly having just discovered her, Song Mirae with her raised shoulders looked down at Han Dasom and opened her mouth.
“It was exhausting to suddenly undertake an audition right? Great work today Dasom~”
With her eyebrows slightly raised up, Han Dasom looked into Song Mirae’s eyes.
Watching the two of them sharing words of goodwill with a light smile, I scratched my hair.
Were they always this friendly? I thought they usually don’t even greet each other though.
I was observing their relationship with a strange gaze when Song Mirae, who had closed her mouth for a short period of time, first started a conversation.
“The song was really difficult right? How could he ask us to sing it after giving it to us for ten minutes? Isn’t that too much?”
“I somehow settled my emotions and acted but… didn’t have enough time and it was all too rough. It was fortunate that the teacher and Yunjae gave good evaluations but…”
Song Mirae then stared at me with sparkling eyes and seeing that, I opened my mouth.
“Because it was good.”
I slowly thought as I looked at Song Mirae, who became stiff while staring at me.
Whether it be singers singing pop songs, opera singers or musical actors… in the end, we were people that let others hear our song.
Not me but other people.
Audience, instead of judges.
Then, it must be normal to match their standards, instead of following my own standard. Rather than just singing ‘well’, the ability to raise the audience themselves to the stage in immersion.
The talent to bewitch them, and make them laugh or cry. That was Song Mirae’s talent, as someone who greatly succeeds in the future as a musical actor.
‘…Now that I’m thinking back on it, she has always been slightly different while singing.’
Going through the album inside my head, I searched for Song Mirae’s singing moments and soon, Song Mirae singing on the stage started slowly surfacing in my head.
Overflowing facial expression, gestures that unconsciously come out, natural control of eyes and the feet swaying left and right. Indeed, every movement seemed to be showcasing her talent.
‘…Her inborn talent as an actor.’
For me to become an opera singer, it was a talent that had to be somewhat copied.
“It was good. For real. It was enough to make you the female protagonist.”
When I honestly admitted her, she seemed flustered instead. Rolling her eyes around in search of things to look at, she twirled the end of her hair and finally faced her gaze to the ground.
After mumbling like that, Song Mirae seemed to have fully digested my words as her expression started easing up. Her eyebrows once again shot up in confidence as arrogance filled her eyes and her lips curled in a rather annoying manner.
…Maybe I shouldn’t have complimented her.
I was staring at her in a small regret when she flicked her hair behind her head and spoke in an even more pleased voice.
“I knew it~ I knew Yunjae would understand! Even back at home, everyone would be completely fooled whenever I acted~”
…That must be because she was the youngest daughter. Who would be fooled by a sloppy girl like her except maybe herself?
Maybe it was that simplicity that actually helped her out when acting.
In the middle of my short contemplation, Song Mirae with her vigorous smile changed her target to Han Dasom.
“In any case, I’m sorry Dasom. It seems that I will have to be the female protagonist~”
Quietly listening to her words, Han Dasom opened her mouth with a smile.
“Nn. That’s okay. These days I’m busy practising for the Subscription Concert together with Yunjae so… it would have been hard to do it in the first place.”
“…Is that so? You shouldn’t overdo it.”
“The Subscription Concert is important though… Oh right, but the practice time could interfere with the musical practices though…”
“As long as you keep it down so that it doesn’t interfere with the…”
“We don’t know what could happen so…”
I blankly watched the two of them that suddenly started diligently sharing a conversation when Chloe, who approached without me even realising, asked a question with blinking eyes.
“What are you doingg here?”
Seeing Chloe’s innocent face, I abruptly remembered the promise I made with Teacher Kwak Jungsoo.
Ah, he would be waiting for me.
Let’s go quick.
Giving a nod, I made a smile.
“My lesson teacher called me so I was just about to go there. If you’re heading to the practice rooms as well, Chloe, do you want to go together?”
Just like that, we left Song Mirae and Han Dasom behind as we slowly headed towards the practice rooms.
Chloe humming as she walked appeared to be in a rather good mood for some reason.
Cautiously opening the door to the practice room and walking in, I found teacher Kwak Jungsoo welcoming me with the same old posture. He was sitting on the piano chair.
At this point, it was so natural that it would appear strange if he wasn’t sitting there.
‘If I remember correctly, one of the legs of the chair broke once in the past. Will it be okay this time…?’
Throwing a glance at me who was caught in nostalgia, he gave a cough before gesturing downward.
When I pulled a chair out and took my seat, the teacher faintly glanced around the room and opened his mouth.
“That reminds me, it’s been a long time since we sat here opposite each other.”
Since he left during the start of first semester, it had been around half a year. I did see him once in the middle for a short time due to the opera performance but… As I looked up at him with a myriad of emotions, he avoided eye contact and continued his words with an empty cough.
“Back then, you might have been a bit surprised since I didn’t even say anything in particular.”
Well… it was true that I was surprised but when the teacher wanted to leave, isn’t it the duty of the disciple to stay still and wait?
“In fact, there’s a reason why I didn’t explain things properly. If I talked about something uncertain beforehand and it didn’t work out, it wouldn’t look good right?”
Wasn’t he just on a business trip due to work?
Seeing me tilting my head in doubt, teacher Kwak Jungsoo scratched his hair as if he found it slightly embarrassing as he continued his explanation.
“The reason I left on a trip this time, is to meet my master that granted me my vocalisation method.”
“…Yeah. You could have been in trouble due to copying my vocalisation method so the person that caused it should take responsibility.”
The person that caused it
…Even though it was just me copying him out of my own will, the teacher still said as such.
“Why such a problem occurred and how to fix that problem. I decided that those things had to be accurately understood, and because I had to hear the opinion of my master who was the foundation of my own vocalisation method, I flew off to Italy.”
So that’s why he suddenly left huh.
Facing his eyes at me heavily giving a nod, the teacher brought his hands together and interlocked his fingers.
“And like that, I visited my master and showed him your video and…”
When I stared at him filled with curiosity, teacher Kwak Jungsoo replied with a smile.
“He said you were a hilarious bloke that sang with a method that didn’t suit oneself at all. It’s like wearing dad’s tuxedo with the bottom of the pants dragging across the ground, he said. Then, he said this could hurt your neck because you fully learned that vocalisation method before the body got used to it.”
In a dumbfounded manner, I was listening to my grand-master’s bombardment of facts when teacher Kwak Jungsoo suddenly formed a strange expression.
“And at the same time, he said it was a shame.”
With a glance toward me, he replied while fiercely scratching his hair.
“As you know already, this vocalisation method requires quite heavily on body conditions right?”
Blinking my eyes, I slowly nodded my head.
That was obvious. Because teacher Kwak Jungsoo’s method was a bit aggressive, it required quite a large body to back it up. Even myself could only use it properly after I finished growing up, after my body became larger than average opera singers.
It wasn’t to the level of teacher Kwak Jungsoo over there but…
But why was he suddenly talking about that?
When I stared at him with a curious expression, the teacher started explaining while using his fingers one at a time.
“You have to be tall, and it helps to have a large lung capacity. In contract, the airway and the oral cavity needs to be shaped well and the head shape is important as well. There has to be space both at the front and the back in order to create a beautiful sound. It is good for the cheeks to protrude out a bit as well.”
“…You’re explaining it like you are talking about an instrument.”
“Well, we, opera singers are people that play the instrument called a human body after all.”
While I dwelled on the word, instrument, the teacher calmly opened his mouth.
“And like how there are ideal shapes for instruments, it is the same for human bodies as well. Like a violin’s elegant curve and a rigid straight line of a flute… musically speaking, there are optimum body structures just like how our vocalisation method requires a large body.”
Crossing his arms, the teacher glanced over me from the top to the bottom and continued.
“But you. Your overall structure is a perfect fit. The vocal cords are solid and the timbre is good as well. Besides, the ears are excellent and the speed of learning a new vocalisation method is quick. The head shape and the resonating chambers have good structures as well. At this point, it looks like a body perfected by instrument crafters after shedding blood and sweat to have you learn this vocalisation method. In fact, even my master was impressed after listening to it once.”
Suddenly, I thought of what happened in the prac test.
Thinking back… ‘Tristesse’ which I had been singing for the past twenty years had a higher score than the ‘Elf King’ which was sung with teacher Ku Mingi’s method. Plus, even the judges and the maestro, Timothy Dickson evaluated it higher.
I thought it was solely because of the marking criteria but, it was difficult for that to be the case because ‘Tristesse’ even had a better reaction from the audience overall.
Does teacher Kwak Jungsoo’s method suit me more?
While I was in the middle of a thinking process, teacher Kwak Jungsoo glanced over me and clicked his tongue.
“If only you were twenty centimetres, no, even ten centimetres taller.”
“Like I said, you’re too short. So what if the space and structures are good? The key factor of an air pump is lacking so it all goes down the drain. If only you were slightly taller, there would be nothing more to wish for.”
“Well although it’s a shame, there’s no way around it. Fortunately, you did learn a different vocalisation method so…”
Seeing him shrugging his shoulders, I quickly added more words.
“What if I grow ten centimetres, or like fifteen?”
“Since I’m still in my first grade of high school, wouldn’t I grow a bit more?”
The teacher looked at my face and tilted his head as he scratched his hair.
“Who knows. Don’t guys finish growing up around that age? I haven’t really seen anyone have a growth spurt after entering high school though…”
“But there’s still a possibility right?”
He remained still and thought before breaking out into a grin.
“Well right. If you grow taller by fifteen centimetres… you should pack your bags immediately and head off to Italy.”
The teacher made a humoured expression.
“Teaching you will just make me upset so I’ll leave you in my master’s hands.”