What Am I?

Dear New York Folks,

This is Jiwon.

Story 3:

I am the best one who knows I am the one who should leave. This is what I am: “집에서 새는 바가지 밖에서도 샌다.”

Days ago, one familiar face appeared in the newspaper as today’s interviewee. When I met this guy in American university, he looked like a sincere person in his area. But it was in today’s article that I learned what an influential scientist he has been. As expected, his favorite motto was “Do your best and God do the rest.”

I remember this face, for I had no life by then to accept his hearty request to teach little kids after his departure from his American church job. It seems that he has been leading a diligent, energetic, and productive life for the last 8 years. What have I done for the last 8 years?

Repeatedly writing the same thing that no one understands, experiencing the same thing that everyone is content with, and imagining the same future which I can never belong to…

“Do your best and God do the rest,” was also my favorite motto. Did it work? Below are what I was told:

1. My late Korean teacher: “No one in my section wants you to renew your contract. I’m not in a situation to decide your job.” 

2. Dale Clevenger: “You will never make it.” (Since his voice was real, he knows what it means.)

3. Nancy Cochran Bloch: “To be my doctor student, you should be qualified first. You are not.”

4. Kazimierz Machala: “I accepted you because I saw your possibility. You didn’t make any improvement since then. You won’t make it in my ensembles.”

5. American Professor: “Your writing is no English.”

6. Korean Professor-1 to my mom: “Ms. Bloch is a great teacher. There seems to be flaws in her character.” (개새끼… Should I write his very private opinion on Ms. Bloch years ago?)

7. Korean Professor-2 to my mom: “It seems that she studied something wrong and spent a wrong time in America.”

8. My family members: “You are the one who was wrong. You should follow them. How come you became mentally ill like this?”

Whoever said whatever about me, I was the most diligent human being. I was not born a legendary musician. Nor was I born a beauty, which was a prime factor to join the Korean Music Society, but I was able to survive because everybody, including my late Korean teacher’s rival, appreciated my personality.

The sole word to describe my youth was a stagefright. Even God couldn’t help me to overcome it. It was only after I studied how to analyze my own performance that I started believing myself to cure this lifelong disease. Since no one taught me this, I had to study by myself.

Dale Clevenger asked me not to use my brain while playing. However, what I heard from him was his calculating music or manipulating the music business. Musically or politically. He may have enjoyed the fact that he could boast of his physical ability to make each different sound in each concert. Or his physical ability to survive in any situation. Perhaps… this is why I’ve never heard his heart while playing music. Am I the only one? Perhaps… this is why Americans used to remember not the 80s but the 70s as his heyday, even though he was able to make better sound during the 80s. Anyway, I still remember that weirdest Mozart, which this huge guy played with absolutely no music in that specific sound… Was it in Elmhurst?

Unlike Dale Clevenger, I couldn’t control my sound during the performance. It always betrayed my theory and flew into somewhere unknown, so I had to figure out its reason and study this same theory again and again.

Everybody knows why I had to miserably cling to this name, Arnold Jacobs, in America, where no one approves Dale Clevenger’s monkey as someone’s doctor student.

Arnold Jacobs lectured that one should own many kinds of hats, from the performer’s hat to the researcher’s one, and should wear performer’s hat only during the performance. He seemed to stick to his gun throughout his life, for I dropped my jaw when I heard his recording as an orchestra player.

Therefore, it was neither Dale Clevenger nor Arnold Jacobs but Jacobs’ theory that taught me how to study.

I thought I did overcome. Then in Urbana-Champaign, then in Korea…, it returned to me as more severe symptom. Unlike previous cases, I knew the reason of this stagefright but couldn’t solve it. Or it was impossible to solve it by myself. Even in this case, in which I did my very best, God never did the rest. Or he wanted me to realize that I was wrong, from the very beginning.

Has anyone experienced the same stagefright as mine?

Is there someone who can hypnotize the audience when he is already not sure of himself and waiting for the moments on the stage, where your instrument won’t speak?

Performance is all about persuasion. When you wear a performer’s hat, you should persuade your audience’s heart. You should conquer their future money. Don’t you think so?

I did my best throughout my life. I’ve wasted 30 years to follow something hard but worthless. Then I’ve wasted 10 more years to suffer from hallucinations that music is what I liked, and therefore, what is worth risking my whole life to study.

It was 7 years after my graduating from Korean university that I entered in American music school, and it was so hard to follow the music theory class. I barely followed but hardly understood anything there, regardless of my score. When I returned home and opened my old books, I realized that this American knowledge was only a part of what I learned in Korean music school years ago. Since it never helped my professional life, I avoided recollecting anything and quickly forgot everything.

Furthermore, I was forced to study too many fucking stuffs only to receive a good score from American professors who wanted to hook Someone-Above-Them by displaying Something-About-Me. (Not only theory classes but also…)

Years later now, I remember nothing again. However, I still think that I need to learn more about some basic stuffs from the theory class. If I still want to study music…

You want to talk about music, don’t you?

To talk about music, you need to remember things that you learned at music school. I remember nothing. My brain doesn’t weigh anything now.

Jacobs’ theory is the only thing left, and with that… still… I can analyze all the music around me and around you. Not only music but also almost everything. Miserable but funny…

What really means Jacobs’ theory, however?

How can I give a lecture when the theory itself is so simple? Therefore, it is still hard for me to understand how Arnold Jacobs was able to give so many worldwide lectures without acquiring a real depth of understanding of his theory.

You just have to understand it by instinct.

According to this theory, I don’t belong to Dale Clevenger type of human being. I belong to Andre Cazalet tribe. How do I know? If I were a chain smoker, I would smoke just like him.  … too tired to write more details… this writing is unnecessary now, anyway… 

This theory tells me that one is content with his mouthpiece, as well as being called an erotomaniac, while another is enough big to say OK. This theory also tells me that I am a petite female. This is how I got to realize that I need to travel more to find another mouthpiece or to study more to design my own.

Whoever scorned my English as no language… Whatever was behind their decision to reject my papers… No matter what… I wanted to improve my English.

Time has passed… I even found that there is a beauty in this language. Surely, I started reading you to survive in this situation or to prove my sanity… and lots of happenings since then. Now it’s much more fun to read beautifully-written article than to listen to so-so music. I become curious to listen to the real music when I find an interesting article, namely the Art of Criticism.

Then you are the one who keeps advising me that I am the one who should leave.

To be continued…

Sincerely yours,

Jiwon

(Originally written on March 27, 2006) 

Dear New York Folks,

This is Jiwon.

Funny that I am still deluding myself that I am communicating with someone. Are you answering me, anyway? Why? Of course, I still want to find myself in New York. But how? To start my life in New York, I need to catch the flight. To fly freely, someone should send me something. But who? Anyway, I want to write this one first before starting my next story. I am curious if I could still get your answer after sending this one.

May I analyze Du Pre’s ensemble with Daniel Barenboim?

Pianist Barenboim is still proud of his performance with this female cellist. Well… since everybody is proud of his performance with this cellist, it is OK. What is not OK was that Du Pre herself sounded marvelous in her recordings with this pianist.

Months ago, I heard them on the radio and suddenly realized her reason.

To be continued…

P.S.: Not only I am still physically too weak to work on the computer, but also I just can not concentrate on myself whenever I think of this music. Sunday is my only day and I woke up at noon to cure my sore eyes. I spent the whole day to write nothing. After all, it is none of my business. Then why do I have to write this? I am just sick of this fact that I can never explain all my problems with this fucking Jewish pig without analyzing Du Pre’s music with this pianist, Daniel Barenboim.

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