He is the second son of Shyama Sastri, he listened to great music at home and at the Bangaru Kamakshi temple. He studied music from his father, who later sent him to Thyagaraja to study music at Thiruvaiyar. Thyagaraja had great reverence for Shyama Sastri and gladly took Subbaraya Sastri as his disciple. Subbaraya Sastri became one of Thyagaraja's favorite students. After his studies with Thyagaraja, Subbaraya Sastri continued his music education with his father. At that time, Muthuswami Dikshitar was staying in Thanjavur at the house of his disciples, the Thanjavur Quartette, just behind the street where Shyama Sastri's home was located. The two great composers met frequently and regularly held musical sessions from which Subbaraaya Sastri benefited as well. Shyama Sastri would ask his son to sing his compositions. Dikshitar in turn, was appreciative of Subbaraya Sastri's talents and also taught him a few of his own compositions. Subbaraya Sastri was the only person to learn from all the three: Shyama Sastri, Thyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar. The influence of all the three can be seen in his compositions.