State School of Fine Arts & Gitameik Music Institute in Myanmar
At The State School of Fine Arts (Chin Tsong Palace), students aged 14-17 learn, amongst Myanmar traditional arts, how to play musical instruments such as Burmese harp, xylophone, saing (Myanmar drum circle), piano and violin. In the afternoon at 1 PM, clients can visit the school and learn the basics from students, including dancing and singing! It’s a great way to acquire a basic understanding of Myanmar traditional arts and music. Please note, the fine arts school is available to visit from June to March and it is closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
Destination Asia Myanmar can also arrange a private meeting with Myanmar Harpist (Harp- saung-gauk) Aung Pyae Son. The son of the nationally acclaimed harpist U Win Maung, he started to play at the age of seven and since won many awards from Myanmar’s National Performing Arts body. He publicly performed the Thai Royal Anthem as a mark of respect following the passing of H.M.King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in October 2016. Aung Pyae Son is now a teacher at Gitameik Music institute for Myanmar and one of the famous harpists in Myanmar.
Learn to play a Thai instrument at Baan Dontree
Baan Dontree Thai is located in the temple compound of Wat Pummarin Kudi Thong in Amphawa, across the Mae Klong River from Amphawa floating market. It’s the hometown of many Thai musicians such as Luang Pradit Phairoh (Sorn Silapa Bunleang), and Ua Soonthorn Sanan, founder of classical Thai music band “Suntharaporn”.
Baan Dontree Thai was founded to keep, teach and tell the history of Thai cultural music. On the first floor are exhibits of musical instruments and photos of famous Thai performers. On the second floor you’ll find Thai musical instruments such as the xylophone and fiddle.
The Thai musical instrument classes for (local) tourists occur every weekend morning starting at 08:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Contact Destination Asia Thailand to secure a booking in advance. As the teachers are unable to speak English, visitors will need to be accompanied by a Destination Asia guide.
Khlong Toey Music Program ‘Playing Music for Change’
Khlong Toey Music Program (KTMP) is a non-profit organization born out of a passion to create positive social change through music. Based in Bangkok, Thailand, the program teaches music and art for free to the underprivileged children of the Khlong Toey slum communities. They provide a safe place for underprivileged children to learn and practice music, gain confidence and unleash their creativity. With over 100,000 inhabitants spread over a densely populated swathe of Southern Bangkok, Khlong Toey is the largest underprivileged community in Thailand. Opened in October 2012, Klong Toey Music School provides a safe and uplifting space for underprivileged children, where self-esteem can strengthen and creativity flourish through weekly lessons, and regular performances.
In October 2012, Geraldine “Gigi” Nemrod, a French resident in Bangkok, and Siriporn “Amm” Pomwong, a Thai native, began the non-profit organization from a passion to create positive social change through music.
Meet With an Expert on Khmer Music
Patrick is considered one of the foremost experts on Angkorian musical instruments. He deciphers and remakes ancient musical instruments by studying and interpreting carvings of them from the temple bas reliefs. He recently set up a specialised ancient Angkor instrument musical workshop at the beautiful atelier Theam’s House. Here clients can visit and get interactive with the instruments, learning more about them with Patrick on hand to explain their use and history. Patrick is also available for lecturing groups of clients who are interested in the instruments of Angkor which can be done at Theams House, at a hotel function or as a demonstration at a temple dinner. Originally from France, he also speaks fluent English and well known as one of Siem Reap’s more interesting characters.