Earlier I was planning to write a post about my first studio class and all the interesting little things that happened (like how we just ate food and chatted for the first 40 minutes until someone finally volunteered to play), but now I am simply too tired. This is mostly because near the end of class, my teacher said to me, “Why don’t we have our first lesson on Tuesday?” I agreed, thinking it would mostly be a talking lesson. Then she added, “Do you want to play your Beethoven Sonata next week?” I replied, “Uh, maybe the week after next?” And then I realized she meant in studio class (in front of all her other students). My eyes widened and I shook my head. She laughed, saying, “We’ll just see how it sounds on Tuesday.”
I just nodded and smiled, but as soon as class was over, I zipped down to the practice rooms and planted myself on a piano bench. I had told her yesterday that I needed some time before my first lesson (today was the first time I touched a piano since arriving in Korea), but now I just decided to push myself as far as I could… After two hours, the light outside was fading and I was getting sharp pains in my fingers, so I decided to start my hour-long commute home and make dinner.
Suddenly I feel extremely busy. (I don’t even want to think about what my schedule will be like once my 4-hours-per-day Korean language class starts at the end of the month.) When I envisioned my schedule here, I pictured leisurely heading down to SNU to practice and having lessons every once in awhile. Now, I am suddenly thrust into the life of a full-fledged music student again: lesson on Tuesday, studio class on Thursday, master classes on Friday, recital in the Spring. This means long hours in the practice room, regular subjection to criticism from professors and peers, and the expectation of constant improvement.
While I was practicing today, I couldn’t get over how good it felt to be a music student again, to have that familiar pressure pushing me to reach my potential. I even started fantasizing about getting my doctorate in piano here or back home and just being a student forever. When I graduated from my Master’s program in May, I thought it was time to face the real world and learn how to be a musician out of school. I’m so glad I have one last year to be a student before I become the teacher for the rest of my life (that sounds so ominous). Anyway, I plan to enjoy it as much as possible!
I must confess that the more time I spend in Korea and the more Korean friends I make, the more tempted I am to cut myself off from the English language and immerse myself completely in Korean. Then maybe I could really get fluent, to the point where even my thoughts were in Korean! But that would mean quitting this blog, and, don’t worry, I’m not planning to do that. But I may start posting less often… we’ll see.