We start our blogging class with the question “Who wants to be a musician?” around 10 of 13 hands fly up.

“So… you don't want to be Dancers anymore?” this is followed by uproar in the classroom and looks of disbelief “No, No we didn't mean that, we can be musicians AND dancers AND visual artists!”

This week our inclusive arts students started a new project learning traditional Khmer music with a local organization, KhmerCultural Development Institute (KCDI). They wanted to tell you about it.

We started to learn about “Bunbeak” (traditional Khmer music.) We went to the KCDI school on Monday and Tuesday, they teach traditional music to local children. They have lots of different instruments made from bamboo, metal, wood and plastic. We played on the Roneat Thung, which is like a wooden xylophone, Roneat Dek, similar to a glockenspiel, Ching they’re the same as western finger cymbals and  we played on different types of drums. 

Khmer traditional music is different from modern and western music because it uses different instruments. The Khmer instruments are played by hand but the western instruments are sometimes electric, like the electric guitar, Khmer instruments are never electric.

“I like to play the Roneat Thung (Xylophone). I can remember the pattern when the teacher shows me even though I am deaf”  Channdan, IAC student

Traditional music has a very different rhythm to western music, modern music is cool and loud and the traditional music uses very sharp sounds

“I am deaf but now I like to learn music. When the drum is played loudly I can feel the beat and when I play the big drum I can sit behind a classmate and think about the pattern from his hand movements and that way  I’m able to play in time” Srey Noch, IAC student

So far during the Inclusive arts course we’ve learnt about modern music and traditional music. We’ve learnt about creating music on the computer in our recording studio and using everyday objects to create instruments. Matshin likes playing modern music but the rest of us  like learning about both types of music equally and we cant wait to learn even more!