A senoir music teacher once said: "Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is more beneficial to Thai music than several benevolent angels". Truth in this statement may be seen in Her Hoyal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's leadership in Thai classical music. She plays instruments. sings. encourages muscial training at every educational level. writes about music. promotes instrument making and the conservation ot classical music.
She has written that her musical experience has not been a simple matter ot "following other people's fads", or just attending classes at school. Otherwise her interest would not be as long lasting as it is. Her pursuit of Thai music has been continuous. She once said that music was addictive to her not only because she enjoyed it. but also because she could share it with friends.
In her childhood, Her Royal Highness enjoyed folk songs which were very popular. These songs were simple and most were based on classical tunes. She began to learn these tunes by playing along on her saw (fiddle) or klui (flute). She used these instruments because they were light and could be easily taken wherever she went. She also learnt her first songs by singing along with folk songs.
Up until the time of her graduation from Chulalongkorn University. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn played music in string ensembles. She is proficient at playing the saw-duang, saw-u, chake and klui. Consciously or not, she was setting an example for young men and women to follow.
Her real interest, however. was in the ranad (xylophone). Her music teachers had not allowed her to take this instrument up because, by tradition, it is considered improper for a lady, let alone a high ranking princess, to play such a masculine instrument. She continued to master the saw.
In about 1985, on a visit to Prince Naris' Klong Toi Palace, she decided to take up the ranad-ek. She now attends weekly ranad-ek classes at this palace. Initially she complained of muscular pains: playing the ranad-ek demands good muscular control. Now she has physically adapted to the stresses by exercising at this instrument at dawn of each day, following age old traditions.
From her school days onwards, people have been presenting her with musical instruments. She now owns extensive collection of musical instruments ranging from a tin can fiddle to one made entirely of ivory. She regularly uses the saw-duang which used to belong to a consort of King Rama VI. She has expressed a wish to set up a museum of musical instruments for educational purposes, and a wish to support and promote the instrument makers.
At present, every musical ensemble looks forward to an opportunity to play music with Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Most keep a saw-u or saw-duang on hand in case she wishes to play, and she invariably does so.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn plays regularly with members of the Chulalongkorn University Thai Music Society. and with her friends at the Faculty of Arts. She also graces all major musical events with her royal presence. Her pursuit in music is ceaseless, Even while undertaking her royal duties in rural areas and residing at royal residences of Chiangmai, Naratiwas or Phuphan, she would invite musicians to join her, if and when opportunity arises