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Genius of a Performing Arts High
Chapter 2.2 - Bit by bit 2

Chapter 2: Bit by bit 2

Without caring about the wrinkles in my expression, Song Mirae approached with a full smile as she talked to Lee Suh-ah. They looked close judging from her hands grabbing onto Lee Suh-ah’s.

“Suh-ah, Suh-ah! Do you want to be in our group? Right now we have Shihyuk, Kim Dongsik and I – 3 people. If you come in it would be 2 males and 2 females, so isn’t that perfect?”

Noh Jusup blocked them with anger.

“Lee Suh-ah already said she would be in our group, though?”

Song Mirae stepped slightly back while Jun Shihyuk opened his mouth as he looked at Noh Jusup.

“Lee Suh-ah would decide on that.”

“What kind of...”

When Jun Shihyuk’s hand was placed on his shoulder, Noh Jusup was forced back by little.


Noh Jusup also reached 180cm but the difference in their builds was immense. Jun Shihyuk had wide shoulders while Noh Jusup only had his height and was thin, and was pushed back.

Soon, Jun Shihyuk stood in front of Lee Suh-ah, while Noh Jusup grumbled.

“N, no...”

What was I doing?

... What could I do with this body of mine? It would at least be a year before I reached my growth spurt, so I was saving my powers until then.

It would just be a disadvantage for me if we fought.

Sneering at the shrunk Noh Jusup and me, Jun Shihyuk turned towards Lee Suh-ah.

“How is it, Suh-ah? Group with us. You know my skills, so let the skilled ones group and dethrone Kim Wuju.”

To Lee Suh-ah who had her lazy eyes cast down, Jun Shihyuk threw a tempting suggestion. She did care a lot about Kim Wuju as well...

As everyone’s eyes had gathered....

Lee Suh-ah glanced at the worried Noh Jusup and me. She then swiped the hair off her face as she opened her mouth.

“I already promised them, so no thanks.”

“... Deciding on the group that will continue for the entire semester with first come first served?”


After raising her chin up and meeting Jun Shihyuk’s eyes, she continued.

“It doesn’t matter who the group members are.”

“...I see.”

After quietly staring at us, Jun Shihyuk flicked his head away and walked off. Song Mirae from behind glared at me for some reason before also leaving.


What... yesterday as well as today.

Just like that, we had succeeded in keeping Lee Suh-ah. Lee Suh-ah the soprano, Noh Jusup the bass and me the tenor. It was a classic grouping that only needed one more girl now...

Glancing around, most of the class had already formed groups. Noh Jusup ran around trying to find another without news and Lee Suh-ah once again leaned onto the wall as if nothing had happened.

The group members don’t matter, huh...

‘Full of confidence’

Well, she had the skills to back it up though.

Lee Suh-ah, the queen of sopranos following the monstrous Kim Wuju, so how could mere group members be a problem?

I just had to get carried by that.

When I thought of that, it felt like I could see a bright halo emanating from behind her. A golden aura – it must be the halo of the full scholarship. After looking at Lee Suh-ah with the gaze one would have when facing a treasure box, I turned towards Noh Jusup who had come back empty-handed.

“Back when Jun Shihyuk grabbed your shoulders, you became sooo frightened. You’re just tall with nothing else.”

Perhaps being conscious of that, he talked back with an upset voice.

“What, frightened! What about you? Stepping back and not even breathing.”

“It’s not that I wasn’t breathing. I was organising my breath in case something happened.”

“Kukhk, whatever.”

After a light fight, I turned around.

Well then, I guess I would just bring someone decent.

As I glanced through the class with a relaxed heart, I saw someone standing out. It was a girl who stuttered as she talked to other groups.

“Umm... do you have... a spot?”

“Sorry, we already have four.”


Her appearance of lowering the head after a refusal looked pitiful. With bangs covering her eyebrows, a somewhat sad-looking pair of eyes and her shy movements, it was evident that she was an introverted girl but she somehow appeared familiar.

‘Who is it? I feel like I’ve seen her before.’

Looking down with uncertainty in my eyes, there was a nameplate which read, ‘Han Dasom’.

‘Han Dasom... Han Dasom... Ah, is that her?’

It felt like I could remember slightly. In fact, I could only remember her singing. A faint memory of a song and her voice from somewhere lingered in my ears – a verse from Gregorian Chant.

Climbing backward from that timbre, the memory continued on like a cobweb.

Yes, Han Dasom. I remembered seeing her at a TV after graduation, at some singing programme. After being baffled at her skills, I looked her up and discovered that she was also from Future Arts High. Upon finding out that she was also from the same grade, I did feel quite disheartened.

I heard some news that after coming first at that tv show, she had debuted as an idol and that was all I knew. How she performed as an idol – I couldn’t remember – which meant she probably didn’t do well?

In any case, there was only one thing that was important.

‘Is she good at singing or not.’

An opera singer just has to sing well.

Coming to the end of my thoughts, I raised my head to find Han Dasom still trying to find a group, with an expression that could burst into tears any time...

I approached with a sigh and tapped on her shoulders.



“Do you want to be in our group? We still only have 3 people.”

She rapidly nodded her head.


After Han Dasom came into our group, the group-forming was over.

There were 20 students in the Opera Department and thus, 5 groups. Excluding our and Jun Shihyuk’s group, every other group had 3 females and 1 male. It couldn’t be helped due to the lack of boys.

‘Higher female ratio in performing arts is apparent even in opera, huh.’

As I was indulged in commenting about life, teacher Ku Mingi gazed over the class before opening his mouth.

“Now, it seems the grouping has been finished. I’ll now explain how the concerted music subject will go.”

He then put up a PowerPoint and began his address; 80% of the final marks will be behavioural marks and 20% from the final test, and if we did this and that during the tests there will be mark deductions, etc...

Why is he so zealous... I thought until a story I couldn’t ignore was brought up.

“... and the first chorus test is one month from now.”


Didn’t you say July before?

After quietening the noisy students, teacher Ku Mingi continued his words.

“Of course, it’s a practice test. The actual evaluation will be during the prac test in July. So it’s a practice test in preparation, pretty much, and as long as you don’t underrate it, your marks shouldn’t be deducted.”

So he will deduct marks if we just do it without prep.

“There’s that, and please tell me the songs you chose by groups at least one week before the test. As long as it is inside the textbook, any song is okay. Now, should we start our lesson? Please be seated.”


We each sat down behind our canterburys while teacher Ku Mingi who had walked to the front of the class stepped up the podium.

Then, he slowly looked around.


That was enough to change the atmosphere.

There still was an amiable smile on his lips, but his eyes carried a sense of seriousness in them – the seriousness of a singer with over 20 years of opera experience, the baritone Ku Mingi’s.

Noh Jusup sitting nearby gulped in nervousness.

“Concerted music, meaning singing together.”

Starting with that, the teacher continued as if singing.

“Singing in unison, harmony or an ensemble, the form doesn’t matter. Once there are multiple people singing together, it’s commonly referred to as concerted music. It is also the same thing by definition – more than 2 people singing together.”

Briefly stopping his words, he looked into every students’ eyes before continuing his words.

“But as you sing, you’ll sometimes think of things like this; what is the difference between solo and concerted music? Is it just referring to the number of people singing? Then if two people singing ‘solo’ were to sing next to each other, would that be considered concerted music?”

Glancing around, it seemed they couldn’t readily form an answer. If two soloists sang together, that would be concerted music. Technically it was right, but it felt different – the classroom was filled with that thought.

It was then, that Lee Suh-ah raised her hand.

When teacher Ku Mingi signalled her with his eyes, she replied in an apathetic voice.

“Concerted music needs to have different sounds come into harmony. If two people were to sing ‘solo’ in whatever manner they preferred together, there would be no harmony at all.”

Teacher Ku Mingi nodded with a smile facing Lee Suh-ah.

“Correct. Different to ‘solos’ sung by one person, harmony is important in concerted music. Harmony, or polyphony – however you say it, the meaning is evident. The sound from every executant within the group must have exactly the same magnitude and same space.”


“To achieve this, the vocalisation process required in concerted music is quite different from a soloist’s vocalisation process...”

While I was listening, a yawn left without me realising.


Ah, it seems I slept too late last night practising breaths. The terrible appoggio got me extremely upset and I ended up pretty much staying up all night... I guess I need to sleep properly from now.

Being slightly embarrassed, I looked around and well, I found Lee Suh-ah glancing over with a frown.

Her image of me will plummet again...

“Well, it is hard to understand from just words right? Let’s give a few examples, then. Student Jun Shihyuk over there?”


Jun Shihyuk stood up with a flash. Smiling at that, teacher Ku Mingi glanced through the students one more time. The students suddenly started fidgeting and looked away, resembling rabbits in front of a lion.

His slow gaze soon came to a stop

On me.

“And student Jo Yunjae.”


Following the teacher’s gesture, I stood up next to Jun Shihyuk.

Slam. A canterbury was placed before the two of us, with a score sitting on top. It had the title, ‘Concone 50. Op.9 No.1’ written on it.

...Is he telling us to sing this...

“It’s quite obvious, right? You just have to sing that. Concone no 1. Shall we start off with student Jun Shihyuk?”


He replied with confidence. His posture as he walked up to the canterbury showed off his pride. I stepped back slightly to appreciate the scene while Jun Shihyuk still had his eyes facing front. His eyes did not reflect the score nor the canterbury.

‘Already sang enough to remember, huh.’

Silence, where even a drop of a needle could be heard, had filled the class. After a heavy gaze to the front, Jun Shihyuk raised his hands forward.

And vocalised.

“Ah – ah – ah – ah ah-”

The melody started from low before strongly picking up. It wasn’t a difficult song – the pitch siding up would stay at the highlight for a bit – that kind of simple song.

Yet a simple song couldn’t conceal his skills.

It was truly a case of talent showing itself. The pitch flowing and rising along the rhythm is as precise as a chisel. The ringing was thunderous and the pitch stringing out from the head is smacking at my ears.

And lastly, the highest pitch E4.


A thunderous high note from the tough build filled the class, and yet his lips were raised as if it did not take a toll on his body. A smooth vocalisation as if he was singing a low note.

Hearing that made a light admiration escape naturally.

‘That’s something hard to hear from high schoolers.’

The constant timbre regardless of the change in pitch. It was the proof that the passaggio connecting the low and high notes was quite developed.

E4 wasn’t particularly a high note and the timbre revealed a few vibrations but it was nonetheless a skill unthinkable to be of a student’s. As expected of Jun Shihyuk I guess – I could see a glimpse of the future best baritone of the country.

Even teacher Ku Mingi was nodding with interest.


The song thus finished,

And a round of applause exploded out from the crowd as he lowered his head


“How is the quality so different despite singing Concone...”

“It’s Jun Shihyuk.”

“I heard he came first at the last spring’s concour.”

Perhaps hearing the chatter, he gave a little smile before turning towards me. He then flicked his head up in a somewhat rude manner.

...He’s saying it’s my turn now, huh...

“Shall we have student Jo Yunjae sing it now? Let’s do the same verse.”

As I stood in front of the canterbury, I could feel the eyes of 20 opera students gathering towards me. I glanced and found gazes filled with expectations.


What kind of feelings were behind those? Were they truly expecting me to do well, or expecting something that would accentuate Jun Shihyuk even more?

‘It doesn’t matter’.

They were also kids who jumped into opera due to their music craze. To them, the songs would speak for themselves – no matter the background or who that person is.

Because that, is opera.

‘So I just need to do well.’

I lowered my head and slowly prepared the vocal cords. Doing the pre-singing practice; checking breathing, forming and getting rid of space inside the mouth and loosening the larynx off of the pressure.

Ahh I want something sweet. It is a must to have chocolate before a performance.


Suddenly, I remembered that this was the first performance after my time travel. Not the solo inside a toilet and not the sight-reading kind, where I read the pitch like a machine.

The first song in front of an audience.

‘I can’t ruin such a song.’

Raising my head back up, I could feel the eyes of 20 people. A light nervousness started budding up.

Can I do it well – I should be able to. I decided to make it that way. An executant had to believe in themself, saying, I think I can do well, and I must do well.

‘I couldn’t get used to the body after coming back in time’ was no longer a viable excuse. The highest pitch in this song was 2 Octave E, a sound within my vocal range.

It was a sound this body could make.

I focused, and readied my emotions.

Concone no1. It was commonly used as a basic textbook material for opera vocalisation. Harmonics, rhythm and beat. It was a practice song made to learn these aspects so was therefore easy, and was without a clear theme.

But I assume.

Through the score, various information came in. 4/4, C Major, the long lines of crescendo, and decrescendo.

Humming the song inside, I realised it was a very emotional song. A somewhat pitiable yet sometimes joyous song.

Slowly opening the mouth, I sucked the air in. The filled stomach then protrudes.

Then, I let it out.


The first sound echoed out.

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Genius of a Performing Arts High Chapter 2.2 - Bit by bit 2