Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has been acquainted with the sound of the Thai classical music since she was young. There has always been a Thai classical music band performing along the ceremonies with that she has been involved since she was born.
Prior to practising Thai classical music, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has been interested in Thai country music, which was very popular during that time, because this kind of song well depicted lives and emotions of the local people. Some of the Thai country song melodies came from the original Thai classical music, with new written lyrics to suit the target audience who mainly was the local people. Her Royal Highness has consequently known a lot of Thai classical music, leading to her curiosity in practising Thai classical music.
Part of Thai language studies at Chitralada School also motivated Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to get into the world of Thai classical music. Mr Kamchai Thonglor—her teacher—always taught his students to read poems and to sing Thai classical songs. Extra scores would be given to the students who could properly read poems and sing Thai classical songs. With this method, the students would gain knowledge about Thai classical music and be proud of Thai culture. These experiences encouraged Her Royal Highness to appreciate the sweet sound of the Thai classical music.
From then on Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has studied Thai classical music with many music masters in this field. She started practising Thai classical instruments on a treble fiddle while studying in the eighth grade at Chitralada School. She also took extra Thai classical music classes and learned singing Thai classical songs.
When Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn studied for her first degree in the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, she joined Thai Classical Music Clubs of both the Faculty and the University. She primarily played a treble fiddle while also studying other musical instruments such as an alto fiddle, a zither, and a flute. Besides, she was also interested to learn singing Thai classical songs.
Gamelans were one of the prime musical instruments Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn enjoyed playing since she was young. She afterwards decided to study a treble gamelan properly in 1985. During that time, she always played the Thai classical instruments at Plai Nern Villa, Klong Toey District, which was the residence of the Late Prince Narisara Nuwattiwongse. At this Villa, Her Royal Highness practised the gamelan properly. It has never been known to the public that she studied a treble gamelan until 1986 when Chiang Mai University hosted the University Thai Classical Music Concert XVII where Her Royal Highness made her treble gamelan debut. In this event, she performed with many Thai classical music masters.
The University Thai classical music festival is the special event for young Thai classical musicians to perform in the live concerts. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn participated in a University Thai classical music festival for the first time in the University Thai Classical Music Concert XII in 1979 when Chulalongkorn University was the host. After that, she has taken part in this university concert whenever she is available.
In the University Thai Classical Music Concert XVII in 1986 when Chiang Mai University was the host, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn wrote the lyric and Mr Montri Tramote composed the music for the song “Chuen Choom Noom Kloom Dontri” (The Enjoyable Circle of Music) as the theme song for the University Thai Classical Music Concert. Upon the opening ceremony of this concert, she performed this song by a treble gamelan leading the band comprising musicians from every institution. The student choir sang this song while the concert was broadcast live by the Communication Department, Chiang Mai University. This song has been afterwards performed in every University Thai Classical Music Concert as the theme music ever since.
In addition to the University Thai Classical Music Concert, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn also attended the High School Thai Classical Music Concert and the Elementary School Thai Classical Music Concert and performed the music with students. Her interest in music was also reflected in her article “Dek Lae Dontri Thai” (Children and Thai Classical Music) written for the University Thai Classical Music Concert Memorial Book when Khon Kaen University was the host in 1987. In this article, she gave suggestions on how to teach Thai classical music to children. Additionally, she also gave her views on music teaching for early elementary students in “Hate Dai Kapachao Jueng Chob Dontri Thai” (Why I Love Thai Classical Music).
As a teacher, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has performed Thai Classical music with cadets from Thai Classical Music Club of Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy on 23 October, "Piya Maharaj Day" (Chulalongkorn Memorial Day), every year. She also wrote a song for expressing gratitude and honouring His Majesty King Chulalongkorn who founded this Military Academy.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn did not only study Thai classical music, but she also studied western music. She learned playing piano when she was ten years old. Two years later, however, she asked permission of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit to study French instead of piano.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn practised western wind instruments from His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. She could solo a trumpet leading the band in the Sai Jai Thai Concert and also a xylophone leading the band in the Red Cross Concert.
In 1973, while Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited Brussels, Belgium, she went to the Museum of Music for the first time. She thought that this museum was well-organized — there were descriptions of the displayed musical instruments. The Museum also published a book thoroughly giving details about the displayed musical instruments. This completely educated and gave good impression to the audience. After that, Her Royal Highness visited many other museums of music. She used to express her wish to see a Museum of Music in Thailand for providing information about the national art to the public as well.