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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - It's a busy life for traditional Khmer music teacher

It's a busy life for traditional Khmer music teacher

Nhuk Sinat had one dream: knowing everything about traditional Khmer music and being able to play it himself. Over 15 years later his dream has come true. The 25-year old from Siem Reap Province is not only a student at Royal University of Fine Arts, but also a Khmer traditional music teacher.

Working and studying at the same time makes Sinat a busy person: “I am a student at the Royal University of Fine Arts, also work as a traditional teacher at Yut Krom Korm Association and Asia Organization.”

When he gets up in the morning Sinat studies for his university course. In the afternoon he teaches at the Asia Organization.

But his working day is not over – in the evening, he teaches traditional Khmer instruments at the Yut Krom Korm Association. 

“I can teach Tro, Khmer fiddle, Flute, Ksey Div, and so on. But the majority of my students like to learn Ksey Div.” Sinat Said

Some times Sinat visits students at their homes to teach them music privately. “Spending time to teach a student is not only about money, but it is a kind of sharing with the young generation our traditional music and instruments,” Sinat explains.

Teaching traditional music and learning about it is not an easy task. It requires both patience and commitment.

Sinat has around a hundred students, which can be hard sometimes to manage. But when he sees how much effort his students put into learning how to play one of the complicated traditional Khmer instruments, his struggle turns into happiness.

Being a traditional Khmer music teacher requires a high level of dedication. “I have to spend a lot of time with my students to make them becoming professionals,” Sinat explains.

At the same time he also organizes Lakhon performances at the National Museum every week, supported by the Royal University of Fine Arts and funded by the Cambodia Living Arts.

While being a teacher, Sinat also keeps learning new instruments and practicing them by himself. Recently, he has been learning how to play a stringed instrument, called pin, that not many people can play it.

“I still need to learn and research more about traditional instruments in order to grow myself and make my students to grow as well,” he said.

Soon enough Sinat’s students will have the chance to show how much they improved. At the end of 2012 they will perform on stage.

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