My First Piano Studio Class in Korea

First Studio Class!

Earlier, I was planning to write a post about my first studio class in Korea and all the interesting little things that happened (like how we pianists all just ate food and chatted for 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 professor suggested we have our first piano lesson on Tuesday. I agreed, thinking it would mostly be a “talking” lesson. But then she said, “Do you want to play your Beethoven Sonata next week?”

I said, “Uh, maybe the week after next?” (None of my pieces are ready to present to her.) Then I realized that she wasn’t suggesting I play it in our lesson, she meant perform in studio class in front of all her other students next week! My eyes widened and I shook my head.

She laughed. “We’ll see how it sounds on Tuesday.”

I nodded and smiled amiably, but as soon as class was over, I zipped down to the practice rooms and planted myself on a piano bench.

Yesterday, I had told my professor that I needed some time before my first lesson (since 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 10-month Fulbright pianist experience, I pictured leisurely heading down to the university to practice a few times a week and having lessons with my professor every once in awhile. Instead, I am being 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.

I’m thrilled.

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 in Korea or back in the States 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. Not yet!

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.) I plan to enjoy it as much as possible!


Side Note: 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.



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Elizabeth is a teacher, preacher, musician, and writer. She has a Master's of Divinity and a Master's of Music, which represent her two great loves: Jesus and the arts. A half-Korean, half-white American, she spent seven years in South Korea teaching English. Elizabeth is a perpetual learner, a deep feeler, and a pursuer of beauty and truth.

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