“Do, re, me, fa, so, la, te, do.” The sounds emanate from a tiny room in the colonial building that houses the Preah Sisowath high school.
Inside, Chhoeng Sambath, 18, a music teacher with four years of experience, instructs his class in musical notation.
The class began just a month ago, so Sambath’s students are still having trouble remembering all the notes.
“It’s not a simple thing to become an expert in any art, and this is especially true for the art of the instrument. It requires both talent and patience, and talent is a must,” Chhoeng Sambath said. “But if you just want to play for fun, it shouldn’t be that hard.”
Chhoeng Sambath first learned to play music in a church near his childhood home. A combination of hard work, internet research and natural talent has made him into a bona fide musician.
Chhoeng Sambath can play the guitar, the organ and the drums, and he spends a lot of time practising all of them. As a result, he also moonlights as an active sub-leader of the school’s musical group.
The group recently performed a concert on the topic of “Safe Traffic”. “It was a successful event, and the place was packed,” Sambath says.
This is especially notable as Sambath is only in grade 12 at Preah Sisowath. When he graduates, there may be a lack of properly trained musicians to perform in these concerts.
To prevent this, Sambath has lobbied one of the school’s lecturers to host a music instrument class, with him as a volunteer tutor.
Although Sambath is busy with his upcoming graduate exams and does not earn any income from his daily music teaching, he still enjoys it.
Despite his musical talent, Sambath doesn’t plan to pursue it as his major in the future.
“I honestly love music. I can also say I’m a better musician than some of my friends, but I won’t be able to make money from it.
“Still, music is my best friend and I will definitely maintain it as a second job,” Sambath says.
Music is truly amazing. I might take a music class as well if I can find the time.