Genius of a Performing Arts High

Chapter 3.5 - Passionately 5

Chapter 3: Passionately 5

“I think there was a difference in the analysis.”

Trying to move on from the topic, I used vague words but teacher Hong Yoojin had an unsatisfied expression. She asked with her eyebrows tilting up.

“Of course the analysis was different to make that sound. I’m asking you what your basis for that analysis was.”

The basis.

Hearing that, I could somewhat understand the teacher’s intention. ‘Basis’ was a word that was used frequently when I was both receiving and giving lessons. Due to music being fundamentally interconnected with emotions, the same song and the same score could be given to multiple executants and lead to their own results.

However, that didn’t mean one could sing literally however they wanted. They had to have some sort of basis for their analysis.

For example, let’s say there’s the theme, ‘sorrow’.

Hearing this melody, some might remember the sorrow of heartbreak and sing with the focus on the [process of falling in love, breaking apart, and accepting it] and express it that way. On the other hand, some may think of the death of their loved ones, or perhaps it could be in the form of regret, failure or helplessness. There were hundreds of different ways of expression.

Did you understand all of this, and are you expressing it properly, was the question she was asking.


Slowly turning my head up, I caught sight of Lee Suh-ah from the side watching over with an interested expression, as well as Jun Shihyuk staring at me with his crossed arms.

I lowered my head back down onto the music sheet.

Catholic Hymn number 242.

It was a rather short song with four voice parts, and like many hymns, was simple.

‘Mother Mary, please save us from the suffering.’

The short music sheet with not many verses was lined up with several musical notations, and I once again read through the lyrics written beneath.

‘Please save us from– the suffering.’

The gradually increasing pitch could be seen reaching its pinnacle at ‘from’.

F4 – being the highest note in this song, it was the highlight for the tenors, as well as the most sparkling location of the song.


However, that didn’t mean that we had to put lots of emphases and sing without a care in the world.

I slowly opened my mouth.

“I believe this, ‘Please save us from the suffering’ verse is the most important lyric of the song.”

The biggest difference between instrumental singers and opera.


We weren’t just singers raising the pitch but were opera singers singing songs – we must never forget that. While I was continuing my words, I met my eyes with the teacher’s, which was filled with a strange light.

“And from ‘from the suffering’ I assumed that the keyword here was ‘suffering’, instead of ‘from’.”

I could see the teacher’s expression changing. After gazing at that for a bit, I threw my eyes over to the students. There, I saw the kids, the geniuses of Future Arts High, staring at me with ambiguous expressions.

It was one of the mistakes they commonly made.


Students that sang Italian and German songs without even knowing the meanings behind them, would easily fall into that trap. Although they would get the basic aspects of the song, the rhythm and the pitch correct, they tend to easily forget the importance of words.

A problem resulting from an abundance of talent, or perhaps a lack of experience.

“So, I think the emphasis has to be put on ‘suffering’. ‘From the suffering’. We’re asking to be saved from the suffering and yet putting the emphasis on ‘from’ and singing ‘suffering’ softly is weird. Although ‘From’ is a high note and is understandable that it would be naturally focused on, we must sing it softer consciously to convey the proper meaning behind the lyrics…”

Suddenly, I realised that my tone had become a lecturing tone. Ah, did it get stuck on my tongue during the lessons…

In the middle of the silent room and before the eyes facing only me, I concluded the sentence.

“… is what I think.”

Teacher Hong Yoojin that had been looking quietly at me opened her mouth.

“Sounds good and sweet right?”

She then raised her lips up and crossed her arms. As if she found it amusing, she had a smile on her lips and stared down at me, before continuing her words.

“Interesting! I like this kind of student. Analyse the song the way you want. Of course, there has to be enough basis behind it. And then, we can check whether that’s right after singing – whether that analysis is right or not.”

I unconsciously gave a nod.

That was also correct.

In the end, analyses were subjective. No matter how detailed of an explanation you spewed out, the person singing a better song was right and the other was wrong.

That was what music was in its essence.

“So, let’s try singing it. That guy has brought out his analysis so we need to sing and check. We will start from ‘Please save us’. Not just the tenors but all of you must sing while keeping in mind what that Jo Yunjae has said. 3, 2, 1.”

Her hand reached into the sky as the students lining up became one and breathed in deeply. And matching her lowering hand, we let our breaths escape.

“Please save us from– the suffering.”

The voices of the tenth class mixed into one and resonated in a loud volume. After listening to the sound echoing away, the students all grouped together and started their own debates.

“It indeed feels like we can hear the words better.”
“We can put the accent on like this, huh.”
“I feel like it sounds more harmonised as well?”

Jun Shihyuk nodded his head and replied.

“All the other voice parts have lower pitches during that word. The tenor part that had been sticking out disappeared so it sounds better.”

And on top, Lee Suh-ah added.

“On the ‘please save us’ part at the front, it would be better to put emphasis on the word ‘save’ as well.”

As expected of Future Arts High.

After one round of singing, they had figured out all the problems lying within. Fixing other similar issues in other parts at an instant showed their frightening development speed. It was only that their experience was still lacking.

When I turned my head away after gazing at that scene, my eyes met with teacher Hong Yoojin’s.


A while after staring at me with strange lights in her eyes, she resumed the practice.


After the worship was over, Hong Yoojin was on her way back to the staff room before meeting one man. A large back, unkempt hair and a vicious expression.

Kwak Jungsoo.

Making a pleasant expression, she quickly neared Kwak Jungsoo to the side and coyly gave a greeting.

“Hello, are you on the way back from a lesson?”
“Teacher Hong Yoojin. Yes, I am.”

From his indifferent tone and how he created some distance after that, it seemed that he had no interest whatsoever. Feeling a little disheartened for some reason, she made a pouty face before stabbing at his thick side.


He became startled and looked quite funny. After stabbing one more time just for the sake of it, she asked with a smile.

“Jo Yunjae. Teacher Kwak is teaching him right?”
“…Yunjae, yes I guess.”
“How is he?”

Was it too random? He appeared to be clueless so Hong Yoojin changed her words a bit.

“I was in charge of their Chapel, conducting but he appeared quite interesting. He barely made it in during the interview and wasn’t even attending any concours so I didn’t really like him but…”
“‘Interesting’, is it”

As expected, he was indeed interested in his own disciple. Hong Yoojin excitedly continued her words.

“During the practices, I could hear some near-perfect sound so I thought the tenth class guys were just good. But there kept on being some static sound on the tenor parts so I thought it was Jo Yunjae but… he was actually the one singing properly while others were weird.”
“… Yunjae is indeed quite good at expressing. His learning speed is phenomenal as well.”

During the conversation, Hong Yoojin thought it was weird and tilted her head.

“But now that I think of it, it’s quite bizarre. Is it possible to have good diction with bad basics? His learning speed is strange as well… did he have some kind of illness before?”

Kwak Jungsoo was startled.

“An illness?”
“Ah, sometimes it happens to pregnant women. After giving birth, their diaphragms and stomach muscles are ruined so their basics are bad but their diction and expression skills would still remain. Unless he had a similar illness… Ah!”

After talking on and on like an old lady, she clapped her hands and shouted.

“I left the hymn book below. I’ll go and bring it back up!”

Staring at that distancing back,

Kwak Jungsoo closed his eyes for a bit.


After the Chapel was over, Noh Jusup faced his eyes that appeared like a puppy seeing a snowfall.

“Ohh Jo Yunjae~ You were cool back there hey?”

He would say such things while shoving my shoulder

“‘… is what I think’. Puhp! I thought it was a declaration of independence or something.”

And impersonate on the spot.


Rather than a puppy, he appeared more like a damn dog. I barely ignored while clenching hard but then he even started singing.

“From~ the suffering~”

How I wish I could hit him.

I stared deeply at the textbook while trembling before hearing someone sit on the chair in front of my desk. Glancing up, I found an unexpected girl sitting there.

Song Mirae.

While she was managing her bangs that covered her forehead, our eyes met, and when they did, her eyes broke into crescents.


Since she greeted I gave a reply but she was quite random herself.

After two weeks of ignoring she’s suddenly like this? The stealthily decreasing distance felt uncomfortable so I asked while retreating my neck.

“Is there anything?”
“Does there have to be something?”

When I stared back indifferently with eyes that said, ‘You wouldn’t have come if there was nothing to say’, Song Mirae pouted her mouth once before opening up.

“Are you not going to enter the Musical club?”
“The Musical club?”

When I asked back, Song Mirae started chattering about this and that.

“You know our school’s Musical club is famous. But this year there’s only Kim Dongsik as the first-grade tenor so I’m a bit worried. Kim Wuju… won’t come in and you’re the only one left. Do you have any thoughts? You seemed quite skilled from what I saw today?”

It appeared that Kim Dongsik that guy was being quite disparaged. Inwardly laughing a little, I waved my hand in refusal.

“Sorry but I need to practise a bit more so I won’t be able to enter any clubs.”
“Don’t say that and come visit once at least~”
“…Is that so? Tch.”

The brightly smiling Song Mirae instantaneously made a sulking expression and stood up from the seat.

The Musical club… Future Art High’s Musical club was indeed quite popular but I had no time yet to enjoy going to club activities. I waved my hand saying sorry when Song Mirae who had been walking past me suddenly came to a halt.

“The thing you said back then, do you still think the same?”

Song Mirae quickly flicked back towards her seat with a stiff expression. Noh Jusup who had been laying low with his neck lowered suddenly tapped me.

“Did you get scouted just then?”
“They said there are no tenors.”
“Jun Shihyuk should be able to cover it to some level though~”

While I was chitchatting with Noh Jusup, the time for the end-of-the-day meeting had arrived.

“Everyone, it is time to start so please go back to your seats~”

Again, she had a strangely happy expression and when I saw that, I felt a chill run down my spine. She always brought something when she had that face…

And of course, teacher Kang Heewon who had been giving a wide smile started an important announcement.

“Everyone! You know that tomorrow is the first day of the Improvement Concert right? Please come to the Future Hall and bring your own writing equipment! The performers must come 30 minutes earlier.”

An excited atmosphere filled the students.

The Improvement Concert – the little concert opened by students was now right before their noses. Was it already time for the first-runners, I thought and glanced at Chloe and Lee Suh-ah who had their performances coming up tomorrow.

Chloe brightly smiled and greeted back with her eyes while Lee Suh-ah was staring out the windows. I was unknowingly staring at Lee Suh-ah for a bit when she, who had been resting her chin on her hand, turned her head over.


Our eyes met.