The sound of music and singing fills a classroom with fewer than 10 students and a female teacher, starting the lesson of the day at the Japanese Neak Pon Music School in central Phnom Penh.
Hisako Ikeda, a Japanese musician, is the founder of the school, which will be officially inaugurated this October. She said that since July until now, the school has received around 30 students, in which around 50 per cent are Japanese and the other half are Cambodians. While she has students as young as 10-months-old old up to 20-years-old, the majority are under the age of 10.
In order for students to receive the highest quality of music education, Hisako bases the program with a range of instruments and brings music from different countries.
Hisako said,“our program focuses on international music, including general knowledge of musical instruments, singing and reading.”
Her classes incorporate Japanese, Cambodian and English language songs, enabling students to pick up a variety of styles.
“In some classes, I speak to my young students in Japanese completely because they are Japanese. For some classes, I speak and sing in Cambodian and English to explain the musical lesson to my students.”
She added that this diversity of languages allows students to “understand music in three different languages.”
Hisako added that at the Neak Pon Music School students can learn, bringing them happiness. “We have a lot of joyful programs in our classes that will bring the basic knowledge of arts, building a foundation for a bright life and future of those children,” she said.
“To enroll in Neak Pon Music School, each student can pay according to the hourly rate, which is $5 per hour or about $200 per course for one semester,” Hisako said.