Nicknames are common in Thailand, because their first and last names are usually lengthy. Patommavat “Note” Thammachard’s very appropriate nickname was given to him by his father, who was also a musician.
Thammachard learned of Indiana State when he saw Brian Kilp, professor of music/horn at State’s the School of Music, perform when Thammachard was a student at Thai University in Thailand.
“I don’t know if he saw something in me. He said he would like for me to come to Indiana State, so I practiced hard and tried to (improve my) English,” he said. Thammachard graduated from Indiana State with a master’s of music performance in 2014.
Thammachard’s first impression of campus? “When I got to Terre Haute, the first thing I noticed is the cold,” he said with a laugh, “but I feel warm when I see some of my friends. We feel like a family, because everyone gets really close and all the campus feels like you can hang out or study like at home.”
As a classical guitarist, Thammachard spent much of his time in the practice room.
“They had everything for me in the practice room,” he said. “I got really comfortable there. I love my department a lot.”
Now living back in Bangkok, Thammachard teaches guitar lessons at Brillante Music School — an opportunity made possible by his time at Indiana State.
“When I was at Indiana State, I got to perform a lot,” he said. “I was also an instructor in ISU Community School of the Arts, so I got the experience of teaching, which helps me a lot right now. My experience helps make my class different in Thailand, and that really helped me.”
The international language of music helped fill communication gaps.
“Music helped me. For example, they would say, ‘Play this, play this,’ and I don’t really know, but when I heard the sound, I understood. Music really helped me, actually, with language,” he said.
Of Thammachard’s numerous performances at Indiana State, playing with the Terre Haute Symphony and for the president of the university ranks among his most memorable.
“It was a great honor,” he said. “I think everything lined up for me perfectly at Indiana State.”
Thammachard enjoyed the multi-cultural experiences at Indiana State, including potluck meals among his fellow international students.
“So many people can cook and share their culture by food,” he said. “Because I’m from Thailand, it was totally different (from the other students).”
Thammachard recommends other international students — from Thailand or beyond — consider Indiana State.
“If you want to pursue your dreams and something like that, Indiana State is a good choice. When I was there, I was pretty free to talk with the instructor,” he said. “I would say to (students considering Indiana State), if you want to feel like a family, relax when you study, get a love of good communities — all good stuff — you should go to Indiana State.”