Project: UIC Snapshots (ft. Professor Hwa Young Seo)

This week’s piece features Professor Hwa Young Seo, a UIC Professor teaching courses on music.

How did music first become part of your life?

When I was very little, my aunt was a pianist and I grew up listening to her play. Naturally, I fell in love with the timbre of the piano. Whenever I listened to songs like Für Elise, I would consider it the most gorgeous sound. Gradually, I began to pick up a few notes and started playing on my own. My mom would also bring classical music cassettes which I would listen on repeat till they broke. I went on to attend an arts high school and music has been a part of me since.

What would you like to say to those who are interested in learning music academically, but have no prior musical experience?

You cannot force someone to study music. Before taking my course, I consider liking music a prerequisite. Music is about sound, about playing, and really listening. You have to listen to it with all your heart to learn something. Then, if you want to pursue it further, I recommend learning instruments like the keyboard or exploring via Youtube.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a hobby?

I love watching movies of all genres, but especially classics like Hitchcock films. I also enjoy spending time with my three cats. They are independent but also very affectionate, and it’s a pleasure to watch them roam around and do their own thing. One has even begun imitating me by pressing down notes on my piano! And finally, I love exploring the city with my husband.