Teacher: Sarah & Lisa 



Sophie’s Summer Story: The Contest


Hi. My name is Sophie and I am a high school student who is majoring in Korean Traditional Music. I’m a musician who plays an instrument called Geo-Mun-Go. I’d like to share with you an event that happened last summer.


My school is one of the top high-schools that specialize in Korean Traditional Music. I have always achieved top marks in my major, so I have pride in my abilities. However, something suddenly happened! Before last summer break, I participated in two contests, but I did not win any trophies. In spite of all that hard work, I didn’t get the marks that I expected. I was really shocked with the results! Since that day, I started slacking off and didn’t practice anymore. I had fallen into a very bad position for a musician called a slump. I know that sometimes slumps can be very fatal for some musicians.


A few days later, after the summer break, one of my best friends asked me, “Will you participate in the concert, ‘Im-Bang-Ul?’”. At that moment, I wasn’t ready for any contest at all. However, many of my friends suggested that I compete in the contest. I thought that it was non-sense for me to take part in such an important contest since I had not practiced any of my pieces.  


There were 124 participants, and most of them came from the famous Korean Traditional Music high schools. The contest started at 9:00AM, The first place performer was awarded a testimonial, $605 and qualification for applying to an examination in their major at "Seoul National University" (Korea's best university).


There were 6 professors who were judges, and they were known as being strict. When I knew the professors' names, I was shocked because one of them was the professor who gave me the worst score in the earlier contest. From that moment on, I had lost all hope of winning, so I wasn’t even nervous.


My number was 43. I was waiting for my turn. When it was my turn, I played confidently. After that, I took off my Korean traditional costume, “Hanbok” as soon as possible, and packed it up with my instrument. After all the performances were finished and the judges announced the qualified successful candidates, I found out that I passed! Oh my god! I passed it! I was even in the top 2! I was so happy and I couldn’t believe it! I had to hurry up, because I was ready to leave, but not to go to the audience. I needed some time for dressing, tuning and handling my hair. This time I was very nervous. The first ranker at the first decision was no. 7. She was our school’s senior. It would be great, if I could beat her, but I thought I was not ready to win at all. Suddenly, I felt very nervous. I tried to relax again, but it didn’t work at all.


After 12 participants’ performances, we gathered on a big stage where we played. I just thought maybe I would get only a testimonial. I was already happy with the first qualification. After 20 minutes, they announced the final results. I couldn’t believe it! I won first place in the contest! I received perfect scores from all 5 judges! The professors who gave me lower scores at the last contest gave me perfect scores this time, too. I was so surprised!


After the contest, many people congratulated me and I became very popular at school. The next day I was surprised even more, because my name appeared on the first page of a newspaper! It gave me another happy moment. More than anything, my parents were happier than anyone else in the world! I was so excited to see their smiles.


This contest helped me learn that I had to let go of the pressure I was undergoing so that I could relax and have fun in my final performance at the contest. I should not expect that I will be always successful. I also learned that I should never give up on myself and to keep trying until I succeed. The most important thing that happened was that I overcame the slump.


 Thank you very much! Happy New Year!