Good Habits Lead to Good Health

Guest writer Clara Shandler, the Sidewalk Cellist, shares her thoughts about the work of Music Arts School and the importance of everyone keeping active and lively during the pandemic.  

Many of us strive for good health – we eat healthy food, exercise, try to get enough sleep, and to spend time in nature when we can.  Sure, we might have spent most of the Covid-19 pandemic watching movies online and eating delivery pizza, but we still try to be healthy by wearing our masks, washing our hands, and getting vaccinated.

There is one more critical step we must take to maintain good health, and that is to look after our mental health.  This includes managing our stress and exercising our brain by learning and trying new things.  So many activities and hobbies offer participants a combination of the two, from dancing, pottery, reading, drawing, sports, yoga, singing, and playing a musical instrument.

Music Arts School in Phnom Penh wants more people to have the opportunity to benefit from these healthy habits. The local non-profit school currently offers 20 scholarships to students from low-income families, free weekly guitar lessons in the CC1 & CC2 prisons, free weekly guitar classes in Phnom Penh’s slums, fundraises to buy hand-made, traditional masks for Cambodian Face Mask dancers, and provides private and group lessons in a wide range of Western & Khmer instruments, dance, and art at its location in Toul Tompoung. They also have a recording studio, ballroom with grand piano, band practice room, and many rooms with AC that anyone can rent for a small fee to practice their favourite musical instrument, make music with friends, do yoga, make art, or dance.

Even though trying a new musical instrument, activity, or skill can be tricky at first, the positive effect that it has on the brain, stress levels, and overall health are definitely worth it. The teachers and staff at Music Arts School are hopeful that if they create the opportunities for a wide range of people, more children, teenagers, and adults will take time away from their phones, tablets, and computers to learn something new and improve their health.

Clara Shandler


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