Here is yet another update on my gayageum lessons. This week we started learning the left hand. I am still so amazed at all the techniques that are required for this instrument. While the right hand plucks the strings, the left hand has a series of movements that create a vibrato for each note. The left hand can also change the pitch of the string. It’s the left hand that gives this instrument its “Asian” sound. There are various types of vibrato….so far, we just learned one–a deep slower vibrato that can only be applied to the “D” strings.

The hard thing about my class is that I can only play and practice the gayageum on Saturdays when I go for lessons. I either have to come early to class or stay late to practice. We can’t take the gayageum home for obvious reasons and a gayageum is pretty expensive to buy. A decent one costs about $500 dollars. Because of this my index finger has taken quite a beating. Every time I think a callus is developing, it peels off by 2 weeks and the whole vicious blister cycle starts again. This week I got a nice blood blister. Lucky me.

The sick thing is that whenever I look at it I think “humph, I must be doing something right, it is in the right place on my finger…” and I get a little proud of my wound. Anyway, in the picture you can also see my new hairdo. I must have given in to the social pressures here in Seoul and got a perm. Technically, I got a texture perm. I really like it and it is way easy to care for—just hop out of the shower, towel dry and I am done!

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