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Genius of a Performing Arts High

Chapter 2.1 - Bit by bit 1

Chapter 2: Bit by bit 1

I went over the likelihood one more time.

‘Coming first out of 150 Music Department students...’

Firstly, theory.

Subjects like Music Theory and Harmonic studies were fine, as going through them during the test alone was enough to bring back the memories. I felt rewarded for having studied even after graduating in my previous life.

In any case, I had the confidence to get full marks in these and languages that had to be learned in opera, like German and Italian were on point as well.

‘The problems would be the prac exams...’

The Specialist Prac, Performance Training and Concerted Music...

Just a brief count had already shown the immense number of subjects. Added to this, the theory exams were pretty laid back, further increasing the importance of prac results.

Throwing the eyes downwards, the pitifully thin stomach was laid bare.


Coming first in prac with this body...

Even if I were to strand myself in practice rooms every day, it wouldn’t be easy to retrieve all the skills. Besides, the first prac lesson was tomorrow! There was some leeway until the tests, but it was lacking considering the time it would take to pull my condition back to the top.

It was a point where something special was needed.

‘Prac... prac...’

Raising my head in a flash, I stared at Noh Jusup who had been innocently sitting down.



“Can you help me out?”




Splash. When I laid myself onto the table, the cold wooden texture contrasting the air from the heaters touched the cheek.

The subject that had just finished was Science. It had been 20 years since I had walled myself from science, and yet I had to learn Science and Society and culture!

While I was bewildered by the timetables, the lesson had started without me realising. The Science teacher came in and explained in a boring voice... it might’ve even been a new torturing method.

The traits of organisms? The difference between living and non-living beings? Hell, why do we need to know that – just think ah that’s alive.

A complaint murmured out.

“Why are we learning science at a performing arts school...”

I thought the pracs were the only barricades but to think there were more. As I laid there without any energy, the nearby Noh Jusup leaned onto the table and smiled.

“A performing arts high school is still a high school so obviously there would be science, maths and stuff. What were you expecting?”

It’s pissing me off.

Glaring at Noh Jusup who had a face full of smiles, I asked.

“... Why are you so carefree, are you good with science?”

He shrugged his shoulders.

“Good? More like why are you so stressed? Just guess during the tests – it’s not like we’re going to uni with our studies.”


Who would give a scholarship to a guesser?

It would’ve been nice if I could live carefreely like him... I sighed with my hazy eyes looking at Noh Jusup.

Well, what else can I do – I can only study hard. At least I wouldn’t have to study for Music Theory and stuff so I wasn’t too far behind other students.

After organising my thoughts, I checked the timetables after taking out my phone.

“The next class is... Concerted Music.”

“Yeah. Yours is also on the third floor, right?”

“We’re both in opera so obviously it’s the same.”

Moving out of the class as we talked, a girl walking straight from the other side of the aisle entered my sight. She had straight, confident legs, a uniform with no blemishes and her hair hanging neatly behind her neck.

Lee Suh-ah.

She who had been walking with an indifferent expression raised her eyelids when she looked at me coming to a sudden stop.

“Un? Hey Jo Yunjae what are you doing... Ah? Lee Suh-ah?”

I flicked my head towards Noh Jusup. Just then, his way of calling Lee Suh-ah’s name sounded natural – without any sort of distance, so to speak. Anyways, it seemed that he was somewhat familiar with her.

With a sudden thought filling the head, I quickly asked.

“Hey, are you friends with Lee Suh-ah?”

“Uh... somewhat? We talk sometimes.”

“Then go and talk to her.”

In response to the sudden words, his eyes full of puzzlement stared right into mine.


My head turned quickly without caring for the befuddled Noh Jusup. Right now was the most opportune timing – the opportunity to definitely get a good prac result was right there.

Behold, the ‘Get Carried’ strategy.

A smile naturally appeared on my lips.

One of the largest weightings within prac results in Future Arts High was Concerted Music. Concerted – the word pretty much described what the subject was about – it directly described how students would perform together.

‘In other words, it’s like the opera’s version of group assessment’

The first lesson of Concerted Music would be simple. With regards to starting an opera ensemble, it would begin with around 4 people forming a group and singing together. Forming a group as such and singing the allocated song at the end was the rough structure of the subject.

And with that singing heavily impacting the results, my own mark would naturally go up if our entire group performed well.

‘Now, let’s think.’

What ways are there to increase the group’s overall skills? A harmony between teammates, cooperation and teamwork?

‘... the answer is, outstanding group members.’

Teamwork – yes, of course, having teamwork was great. Everyone would be singing together so there’s no way it wouldn’t be beneficial. However, if the main singer leading the song had an overwhelming quality, with a timbre that could tempt the audience’s ears... it could cover slight mistakes and give the impression that the rest of the members are doing well.

And I, with my ensemble experiences, had the confidence to lay low and follow the tides.

‘...A bit of a shameful skill but...’

In any case, with all these in consideration, the most fitting person could be considered as Lee Suh-ah. Her singing skills were on the top and besides, she was a girl.

‘Our positions won’t overlap because she’s a girl.’

With a deep smile, I stabbed Noh Jusup on his side and promptly sent him to Lee Suh-ah.

“Ah, ah?”

After thus receiving my secret orders, he started greeting Lee Suh-ah.

Noh Jusup with his chatter and Lee Suh-ah nodding to it, I looked on from behind and it seemed like the conversation would continue for a bit. Him saying that he was friends with Lee Suh-ah wasn’t a lie it seems.

Lee Suh-ah’s previous indifferent expression could be seen easing slightly.

‘Good, the atmosphere is good.’

Now, the most recent humour I learned on the internet last night should seal the deal.

With a confident smile, I stepped forward.


Noh Jusup smiled amiably as he introduced me to Lee Suh-ah.

“Lee Suh-ah you remember seeing him yesterday right? The one with great sight-reading skills – up to the sixth stage. He’s Jo Yunjae, an opera major like us.”


Lee Suh-ah checked my face before making a strange expression.

She must’ve remembered the scene from the sight-reading yesterday. An opera singer that can’t sing high notes, wasn’t something so easily forgotten after all. Noh Jusup tried his best with his words but Lee Suh-ah’s rigid expression showed no signs of easing away.

‘... This is not good.’

She was the one who would be the saviour in charge of our group’s marks from now on, so I had to be on her good side. One wrong step could mean her refusing to join the same group with a scoff.

To get rid of the bad image, I quickly opened my mouth.

“Do you want to hear something funny?”


I could see curiosity entering her eyes, and with a smile, I opened my mouth.

“Do you know why the picture ended up in jail?”

“... Why?”

“It was framed.”


After looking into my eyes for a bit, Lee Suh-ah turned and walked up the stairs by herself.


“Hi everyone, nice to meet you. I am the teacher in charge of this semester’s Opera Concerted Music, Ku Mingi. For one semester, so six months, I wish to spend happy time with you all.”

While the teacher was greeting and talking about concerted music, I was trying hard to dig into the root of the problem.

“No... it definitely said, ‘the most recent humour collection’... The comments said people in the same age group all liked it. Jusup, was it not funny?”

Perhaps finding it funny to just think back, he barely suppressed his laugh as he continued.

“Kukhk... Seriously, where did you find such weird things? That’s the first time I saw Lee Suh-ah make that sort of expression. It looked like she was looking at a bug or something.”

“No, I mean...”

“Whatever, just don’t make that kind of weird humour from now. I’ll bring Lee Suh-ah in.”


This is unfair.

I did nothing wrong and if I did, that would be trying to become friends with my peers. I also found it a bit weird when I found it on the internet but I thought the trends 20 years ago were like that.

“ the Concerted Music studies would be done as a small ensemble. Four people being into a group and singing in beautiful harmony – that is the goal of this subject. It would be great if everyone would be able to sing a cool chorus together by the end of the semester.”

Without regard to whether I was murmuring or not, teacher Ku Mingi’s warm words slowly continued as the whole class atmosphere eased. Perhaps it was because he was famous as a handsome baritone, the girls had good reactions.

“Then, shall we start by making groups? The most ideal would be 2 male and 2 female parts but...”

After a glance through the class, he continued.

“There’s a lack of males so there would have to be groups with 1 male and 3 female parts. So, do you want me to group you guys or would you do it yourselves?”

Noh Jusup raised his hand and shouted.

“We’ll do it ourselves!”

“Okay. Then I’ll give you time so slowly make your own groups. You’ll have to stay with the same members for the remaining semester so pick carefully.”

As soon as the smiling Ku Mingi’s words ended, the classroom erupted into noise. Kids running around calling others’ names, kids who had already grouped themselves as well as those who were struggling to find a group.

I quickly approached Noh Jusup and stood there. It was unknown when he brought her, but Lee Suh-ah was next to him as well. I slowly tried reading her mood when our eyes met.


I could see her cold eyes gazing down.

‘Ah, I was deceived as well, you know...’

But really, I was the most unlucky one here. I just followed what I read from the internet so who knew it would end up like this?

‘... actually, wasn’t the framed picture quite funny? Maybe Lee Suh-ah laughed as well on the inside?’

After having us three in the group, we started looking for the last member and the atmosphere was, of course, the worst.

Noh Jusup was still struggling to suppress his laughter from the framed picture and Lee Suh-ah was of few words to start with. I was just standing there with tightly sealed lips as if I had committed a crime.

Anyway, to break the awkward mood, I tried talking.

“We didn’t finish greeting before, right? I’m Jo Yunjae.”

“...Lee Suh-ah.”

A heavy silence followed for a bit, until Lee Suh-ah turned and faced Noh Jusup.

“You sure he’s alright, right?”

“Uh? He should be, right? He did good in sight-reading too.”

“That? Hmm... okay.”

‘It doesn’t matter,’ murmuring as such, Lee Suh-ah crossed her arms and leaned on the wall. She then glared at her front.

I got scared thinking she was looking at me but her eyes pointed at a slightly different direction.

‘That scared me.’

Following the end of her gaze, it reached the other end of the room, where Kim Wuju was surrounded by 3 girls.

‘Kim Wuju’s group...’

It seemed that she was observing her contender. With a glance, I saw that his group had one male and three females. Kim Wuju was the male and there were 3 girls I didn’t know.

‘Male 1 Female 3’

That would make it difficult for the tenor Kim Wuju to show off his fullest. There were 3 female parts so he would have to be in charge of the low pitch.

It should definitely be lacking compared to the classic, tenor-bass, soprano-alto – 2 male 2 female set-up. As my lips were about to break into a smile of victory, there was a group entering my vision.

A group of both genders walking steadfastly towards us. I checked with curiosity and they were ones I was familiar with.

Song Mirae, Jun Shihyuk, as well as Kim Dongsik tottling from behind. Coming towards us with 3 people at this point in time... don’t tell me.


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