October 19th, 2010
In the morning Karjam and I went to meet our friend 조은정 Jo Eunjeong, who was formerly a 가야금 gayageum instructor at UCLA (I took her class for a quarter, but I must admit I’m hopeless on the instrument). She and Karjam have rehearsed together and even performed, unfortunately due to a lack of follow through by others who promised to get us the performance footage we only have this little video of them rehearsing together. They sounded much better than this after rehearsing more. They will start rehearsing together from next week and we have various plans that after they become more fixed we will share with everyone.
Back home I worked on slap dash video editing on the crappy (but easy) video editing program we know how to use (as opposed to the really fancy program we cannot figure out how to do almost anything with yet and we’re pretty frustrated with). I just made up a little something out of some clips on a digital camera (not a video camera) from the 강령탈춤 Gangnyeong Talchum performance the other night. Due to frustrations with Youtube’s compliance with the Korean Real Name Internet Verification Law, I have not been able to upload this yet (I'll link it here when I do- working now!).
Tuesday is 상모 sangmo day, so of course I went to the 임실필봉서울전수관 Imshil Pilbong Seoul Training Center. It’s still midterm period, so there was only one more student than last week (and he was only absent last week because of his great grandmother’s funeral), he’s one of the two high schoolers in the class, both of them want to go to Korea National University of the Arts. 이현석 Yi Hyeonseok, the one I included a photo of last week, is a first year high school student (out of three years), the other is a second year student (I haven’t learned his name yet). At first I was having a bad day because I felt that I was almost making negative progress, I was even more frustrated when 태원 Taewon (again he was our only instructor) had me practice 반대사위 (not sure on the spelling, but backwards or clockwise spins). It was incredibly frustrating that I couldn’t get into a spin rhythm, but I felt much better when second-year couldn’t do it either. The second hour of class I worked on 양사위 (spinning on one side for 1.75 spins, then switching directions and spinning to the other side for 1.75 spins) together with the other students! Taewon said we had to do it 400 times (and the count is 1,2,3,4=1, 1,2,3,4=2, 1,2,3,4=3 and so on), I am not sure if we did or not, at any rate we spun for forty minutes and I was able to keep at it, although of course my spin stopped and had to be restarted quite a lot more than the spins of the others. After our intense exercise we sat down and had a very serious conversation about Korean education and the future of students who go into the arts (like the two that were there with us). That was a bit depressing.