Interpersonal Relationships of Thai Classical Music Teaching and Learning in University Settings

Hei Ting Wong and Pornprapit Phoasavadi





Thai classical music has always been an essential part of Thai life. However, since the reign of King Mongkut—King Rama IV—Thai classical music has suffered from a decline in interest because of changes of ruling powers and foreign influence, which also brought changes to Thai society. After a century of blending and struggling between keeping Thai traditions and accepting Western influence, a movement unfolded in the 1970s to aid in the revival of Thai classical music. One of the achievements of the movement was the institutionalization of Thai classical music by establishing Thai music departments in researchbased universities in Thailand in the 1980s. The purpose of this project is to investigate the relationships between the personnel who are involved in the teaching and learning of Thai classical music in Thai higher education. This research focuses specifically on the traditional master-apprentice learning method of Thai classical music, the relationship between teachers and students, and among students, under institutionalization. Research data was collected through observing interactions between teacher and students, both inside and outside the classroom, and conducting interviews with masters/educators and students at Chulalongkorn University, with a pilot study at the Thai Music Ensemble at Kent State University, Ohio, the United States.


Keywords: Thai classical music teaching, the traditional master-apprentice learning method, relationship between teachers and students, the institutionalization of Thai classical music teaching


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 11/2018 (Number 2), Page 1-28)