What is it about orchestral music that makes us want to dedicate our time to striking chords and producing melodious symphonies? Once you really discover the unique sound of a symphony orchestra, there is no heading back. Keeping classical music alive within our community, the Royal Bangkok Symphony is one leading music school that has earned a world-class reputation in striving towards educating students with music. The Royal Bangkok Symphony Music School is the cornerstone of Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and its school has been representing Thailand as a cultural ambassador not only locally, but also internationally.

Established in 1982 with the continuous support of B.Grimm, the school is heading towards completing four decades in cultivating classical musicians. From core classical concerts to collaboration with world-renowned guest artists, the Royal Bangkok Symphony Music School (RBSS) is dedicated to enriching the lives of young students through the power of music. The school aims to support students in reaching their potential, unleash creativity, and infuse their love for music.

Interested in playing the harp? Hear from RBSS’s two young talented students, Thammathorn Bwornanakeskul and Bhoomsiripansa Dansilp, who recently received the ‘Legends: Solo Harp Competition’ award at the 2019 Singapore Harp Fest VI.

Meet the young aspiring students

Bhoomsiripansa Danslip

12-year-old Bhoomsiripansa Danslip has been learning the harp at RBSS from the age of 5. “I always enjoyed listening to music because at home, my mom would always put on different kinds of orchestral music, and that’s when I fell in love with the harp. I love that this music school has great teachers and there are always opportunities to participate in competitions,” she said.

When asked whether she would like to pursue it as a profession, she suggested, “I don’t want to become a musician, but I want to play for others to listen. While sometimes the learning process seems difficult, at the end of the day I enjoy playing the harp. It gives me happiness and it also gives others happiness.”

Thammathorn Bwornanakeskul

20-year-old Thammathorn Bwornanakeskul has been playing the harp from the age of 10 and has been part of RBSS for the past 6 years. When asked what inspired her to play the harp, she replied, “initially, I thought the harp was a very beautiful instrument. Once I started learning, I realised that there is so much beauty in its sound. When I was a kid, I saw the instrument in a movie and immediately told my mom that I wanted to learn the harp, and so, she found me this school. I wanted to come and learn at RBSS because the school not only has a great reputation, but there is an opportunity to learn so many different kinds of instruments. Also, the school regularly organises concerts, which is a chance for us to perform and develop our skills. Apart from the harp, I love listening to the saxophone.”

Thammathorn also expressed her feelings about music being therapeutic. “Sometimes, when studying becomes stressful or if I come across any problem, then playing the harp helps me in composing myself. Once I had the opportunity to play for sick people and it felt so good because I was able to contribute to relieving some of their pain. So, if I get an opportunity in the future, I would play for them again,” she expressed.

Meet the instructor
Image credit: Ema Mitarai

Japanese harpist Ema Mitarai has been teaching at RBSS for over five years now. Ema regularly performs at harp festivals in Asia and even represented the Harp Society Thailand during the World Harp Congress 2014 in Australia. Whilst she is a well-recognised musician in the industry, she loves teaching.

“I’ve taught students as young as 8 years old to even 60-year-olds. The harp is an instrument that you can start at any time of your life. I apply my teaching methods according to different student levels and negotiate their skills to balance it by teaching their favourite pieces. I teach beginner level students who are just starting to read notes, to university level learners. I always see them participate in concerts, and when they perform, it gives them pleasure which eventually pushes them to do more. I put in all my effort to make them good harpists,” she explained.

“Learning music is a very personal thing. How you play notes is completely up to you. You learn the basic foundations and the techniques here and then when you go on stage, it’s all yours – how you play on stage shows your presence of mind and creativity,” Mitarai shared.
Mitarai majored in the harp and completed her education at the Royal Northern College of Music in England. Whilst her mother was a violinist and a violin teacher, she chose to be a harpist. “In the case of harp, it’s a very therapeutic instrument just like many others. Harp therapy is becoming very popular nowadays in clinical settings and hospitals. So, part of it is very comforting and healing. Personally, for me, it’s more like a sport where I practice and perform continuously in a cycle, and this process keeps me going.”

Whether you are keen on learning classical music as a hobby or want to pursue a career in music, the Royal Bangkok Symphony Music School is a leading classical music school in Thailand that propels students into successful musicians with their exceptional programs and opportunities.

To find out more about the Royal Bangkok Symphony Music School, visit bangkoksymphony.org.

Alisha Pawa
Writer
Alisha is a passionate dancer and is always creating her own choreographies. She is a fan of rom-com novels, a coffee-drinker who loves tea, and is always on-the-go for her midnight chocolate cravings. She hopes to tick-off her never-ending bucket list one day by hosting her own travel show.