Constantin gives a piano lessons to a studentConstantin is BOOKBRIDGE fellow at our learning center in Takeo, Cambodia.
After a few days in Pnom Penh, Ra and I headed to Takeo City, where the learning center is located.
Discussing roles and responsibilities with Sopheak (left) and Sreydieb (first from right)In the first two weeks Sreydieb, Sopheak, Ra and me conducted a couple of workshops on defining everyone’s roles and responsibilities, my goals for the coming six months and also on giving some key facts about the Cambodian culture and the past development of specifically this learning center. Asami giving piano lessonsAfter a few weeks, I decided to donate an electric piano with proper keys to the community with the support of my family.
Concerning the advertisement with posters and flyers the focus was on „play your favorite song and sing along to it“ rather than classical piano courses, because I experienced that Karaoke is an essential part of Cambodian culture. Constantin (left) with Vannak (center) and RomanWhile the Pilot impact assessment was conducted in Tonloab, I met Roman, another fellow from Switzerland, and the BOOKBRIDGE team from learning center Tonloab for the first time. I decided that I will also join some English classes and increase my efforts on improving the learning quality in the next couple of weeks. By clicking "Send" you accept the Terms of Use and Privacy Notice and agree to receive newsletters and promo offers from us.
Our piano lessons are conducted in a friendly environment where the students are encouraged to perform together and evaluate each other’s performance. Having arrived in October, he will work three more months with the local team to improve the learning center and its offers. After a bumpy two-hour ride we arrived and were warmly welcomed by the heads of learning center, Sreydieb and Sopheak, and all the teachers and students. I set my goals and activities to establish extra courses in sports (mainly football) and music, such as piano lessons and self-made electronic music, and attracting more students through marketing initiatives regarding that.

As regular studying and practicing is quite a decisive factor in learning to play the piano, the strategy behind course enrollment forms, where students have the option to pay in advance and get a discount, was to indirectly force students to come more frequently and regularly. Simultaneously, Asami, a volunteer from Japan working for JICA, started supporting me in my efforts and gives piano lessons to a couple of students. So far, I played with students on the learning center’s football field, the high schools pitch or at the learning center in Tonloab with fellow Roman whenever I could.
I experienced the daily work and challenges in particularly this learning center and joined Roman in his co-teaching efforts in a couple of classes. I must say that I am very fortunate to be a part of BOOKBRIDGE and glad for the opportunity to work in such an interesting culture and with such friendly people, whom I am happy to offer new and broader educational opportunities. Teachersa€™ turnover and congested enrolment in the piano schools is affecting your progress or your child?
In this blog article he writes about his first steps in Cambodia and how piano classes, electronic music and business development perfectly fit together.
I couldn’t remember all their names at first (I’m quite confident with that now though). I also support Sreydieb and Sopheak in terms of strategic planning and facilitating organizational development and to help teachers and staff with desired learning quality improvements. Though, the challenge is and will remain, just like with many English courses to make the vast majority of students calculate the difference and realize the advantages of that concept. When I leave in May, chances are good that she can continue to give lessons as well as to take over the piano teacher mentoring of Sopheak as she will stay about two years in Takeo.
At the beginning of my fellowship one goal was to organize proper football courses with skill drills and tactics.

At JMS, we believe in individual attention and are patient, responsible yet firm with students.
Or the piano school teachers turnover is so very high as it keep changing piano teachers affecting the progress of students? As my fellowship only began in November, I had the great opportunity to travel around Phnom Penh and get a first impression of the exotic buildings and culture this country has to offer. I also got introduced to my guesthouse, which was said to be located just a five-minute ride away from the learning center, but to be honest it feels more like one minute – maybe because of the strong community feeling the people have here. To make them become more familiar with it I played a couple of songs for them first and created short presentations. However, it is challening to reach an adequate number of students, to find the time and sustainability in general. In my opinion it is very important to connect fellows on the ground as the exchange of experiences and advices can help to understand the challenges, possibilities and responsibilities of one’s work better. A couple of weeks later I had already organized the first taster courses, and initially about ten students signed up for it and began to have their first piano lessons – and in most cases even their first personal musical experience. In addition to physical activities like football or ping pong, we expanded the range of free learning activities at the learning center and conducted workshops on environmental pollution and SMART-goal setting for our students.

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