Last week we finally held our much anticipated janggu concert. After just 6 weeks of studying the janggu (8 classes in total) we were put on the stage to show off what we had learned. We were really worried because we hadn't practiced in a week, and even our rehearsal before the show wasn't so great, this was to be our first time performing without the music notes on the board in front of us.
Our teacher, Mr. Oh, performing on the kkwaenggwari
Fortunately, we were the last of the three performances scheduled for the day. The first performance of the afternoon was a professional Samulnori group, lead by our teacher, Mr. Oh. Watching this performance after 6 weeks of studying the janggu was like a whole new experience for me. While to the untrained ear, the music of samulnori can just sound like a jumble of unorganized sounds, but after studying the rhythms in our janggu class I was able to pick out various rhythms that they were playing.
After the professional performers cleared the stage, it was time for the second performance of the day, a group of foreign students from Hanyang University performed Samulnori playing the janggu and the buk (a smaller round drum which is beaten with a thicker drumstick). We all really enjoyed watching them playing the buk, waving their arms around whenever they weren't hitting the drum...
Finally, it was the moment we had been waiting for. We all filed on stage. Two students introduced themselves and thanked our teacher and the staff for making the class possible. Then, we got settled and our teacher banged on the kkwaenggwari (mini brass gong) and we started our performance.
If you're curious how we did, just check the video. But, I can say, our final performance was much, much better than our rehearsals. We finally pulled it all together in the end!
Thanks to the staff of the Korean National Folk Museum for providing this free class to us. I hope I get another chance to study the janggu, it was such a fun experience!