Chopin’s ‘Black Gun’ breaks racism in French classrooms


“Music is like an ocean that embraces and embraces everything. As a musician who handles such a language, the spiritual, mental, and mental freedom that it gives us cannot be compromised with anything.” Hyeon-Jeong Lim’s hands playing the piano. By Lee Jung-yong, senior staff reporter [email protected]

People put their hands on their chests, not their heads, when they say “I’m going”. We naturally point to where our core resides. There are times when it is easy to understand with the head, but it is not easy to put it into action. When you experience a heartbreaking pain, when you are directly treated unfairly, or when you have deep sympathy through a loved one, a shower of enlightenment pours out. The moment when you naturally move into action without the need for effort, the moment when your head-to-heart journey begins. There are two phrases that guided me on that journey: “We are all equal” and “Music is a universal language.” I started playing the piano at the age of three and went to study in France in 1999 when I was twelve. My young heart was full of anticipation at the thought that if I went to France, I would meet strange foreigners with blue eyes and yellow hair that I had only seen in cartoons. As a child, I never imagined that I could be seen as a foreigner in their eyes. When I arrived, the children of my age ripped their eyes out with their hands and teased me as an Asian, saying, “Ching-chung, Ching-chong,” while the adults looked at me as if they were looking at animals in a zoo. All of a sudden, I became a stranger in a foreign country with no friends or family, and who could not even speak the language.

Express yourself through music instead of words
As I couldn’t even pronounce ‘Bonjour’ properly, I couldn’t explain myself or stand up against them. At that time, France was hit by a deadly typhoon in autumn, and my heart was struggling on the edge of a cliff. And then, I truly came across music. Although he could not speak the French language, he realized that he could speak a language that everyone in the world knows and understands. It transcends borders, traditions, cultures, religions, and races, and is a language that connects from heart to heart and from soul to soul. It’s music. The notes dancing on the paper were like bean sprouts, and the piano’s voice was as warm as a mother’s warm arms.

Racism of younger classmates
Overcoming Music Time by Playing the Piano
Transcending borders and languages ​​with a short performance
“Music is a universal language”

It was a day like no other. In music class, the teacher called me and said, “Lim, come forward and play the piano.” Embarrassed, I calmed my pounding heart, but my heart, mixed with emotions, paralyzed my legs. The piano in front of the blackboard looked like a death row, and it seemed like it would take decades to get there. And the moment I sit in front of the piano, I have no choice but to be hostile to me I had no choice but to respond to the children’s attacks with the piano. I played Chopin’s ‘Black Key’. This work was nicknamed ‘Black Key’ because the right hand played only the black keys. The moment I started this song, everything disappeared and only me and the black gun existed. All of a sudden, I returned to being a 12-year-old girl, forgetting that I was a stranger, and just becoming an innocent girl playing the piano keys for fun. When the performance was over, a strange silence enveloped the classroom. While that moment of silence that seemed like eternity passed, I wondered if my earnest wish to get to know everyone would end in failure. But one by one, little by little, they started applauding, and in the end they all cheered and complimented each other. When it was break time, the classmates came up to me for the first time, talked to me sincerely, and wanted to be friends. The music did what I wanted to say so far, but what I couldn’t express in words. “I am just a child from my mother’s womb just like you. I have a mind that thinks like you and a heart that feels. We all have different personalities and looks, but we are all equal.”

Teaching “What do you do if you can play the piano well?”
The piano overcame my fear and conveyed my heart as it was. A few minutes of music made the language and borders separated by 9000 km disappear in an instant, and music became the most wonderful bridge and unique language that connects me and the outside world. My soul communicated with the world through the piano, and then I truly met music. Being a pianist came to me as a mission rather than just a vague dream, and came to me as a reason for existence, not a job. The expression that music is a ‘universal language’ transcends the concept of language and comes as a ‘survival kit’, and as we directly face unjustified racism, we felt with our skin how equal we are in essence. The frog in the narrow well suddenly opened his eyes to the endless wide Atlantic Ocean. The real trip wasn’t 9000 km across Korea and France, but a 33 centimeter trip from head to chest. Music is like an ocean that embraces and embraces everything. As a musician who handles such a language, the spiritual, mental, and mental freedom that it gives us cannot be replaced with anything. Also, it constantly makes me aware of the reality of my existence. Before being a pianist, I am a musician who uses the piano as a tool to make music, and furthermore, an artist who uses music as a means to make art. And before I am an artist, I am just a human being. Just like everyone else, you have to drink when you are thirsty, eat when you are hungry, and sleep when you are sleepy. At this most basic level, we are all interdependent and connected communities. So I think my parents told me this countless times when I was a kid. “If you can play the piano well, what do you do? People have to come first Become a human, do your human duty first, then play the piano.” Those words remain as my homework that I have to study to this day and for the rest of my life.

Pianist, Seoul National University Center for Industrial Mathematics (IMDARC) Advisor. He was the youngest to graduate from the Department of Piano at the National Conservatory of Music in France, and made his debut in 2012 with the British record label EMI, releasing an album of all Beethoven piano sonatas. Known for his original and bold interpretations, he seeks freedom in music.

Pianist Hyun-Jeong Lim.

Pianist Hyun-Jeong Lim.

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