By Akane Joseph
Are you a UH Maui College student with a passion for Hawaiian music? If so, the Institute for Hawaiian Music (IHM) might be right for you. IHM is a two-year program that offers mentoring, training and education that will aid students in their journey to learn the craft of Hawaiian music.
IHM Faculty Coordinator Dr. Keola Donaghy stated that the initial goal of the program is to prepare students for careers in Hawaiian music and entertainment, but not all students share the same goals. Some students aspire to be professional musicians, but others simply want to make Hawaiian music a bigger part of their lives and nurture a passion and skill they can share with their loved ones. IHM accommodates both types of students and tailors the program to suit their individual goals. “It’s really hard to do it like a cookie cutter operation that covers everything,” said Donaghy, “We end up spending a lot of personal time with the individual students to find out exactly what they need, over and beyond the general information that we teach.”
Students who graduate from IHM will receive an Academic Subject Certificate (A.S.C) in Hawaiian Music. This certificate aligns with an associate’s degree in liberal arts so students can earn their certificate while also completing the 60 credits they need to earn their associates. “It’s like getting a second certificate along with your degree for free,” said Donaghy.
IHM is comprised of three pillars, academics, industry connections and service to the community. The first pillar, academics, not only involves the study of Hawaiian music but Hawaiian language as well. During their time at IHM, students will complete three semesters of Hawaiian language. The second pillar, industry connections, helps students establish themselves in Maui’s Hawaiian music community. IHM students have many opportunities to perform gigs around the island allowing them to make connections and gain knowledge about the music industry. The third pillar, service to the community, emphasizes the impact that music can make on others. “I want our students to know what a force music is in society,” Donoghy said, “It supports political and social issues. It can support folks that need help by raising money or raising awareness.” Donoghy explained that he hopes his students will feel a sense of responsibility to use their talents for the benefit of others and not just for themselves.
IHM students not only have the opportunity to establish connections within the music industry, they also establish musical connections with their fellow IHM students. An example of this is the band Kūikawā, a harmonic trio which was formed by IHM students Koakāne Mattos, Joshua Kulhavy-Sutherland and Lukela Kanae. After meeting through IHM, the band formed and has been practicing together for seven months. “I love the classes, I love the program and the connections I’ve made through it,” said Mattos. You can see Kūikawā perform at IHM events and at the upcoming 2017 UH Maui College commencement. “I just encourage everybody, if they love music, to audition for it, be a part of it and watch it change your life,” Mattos said.
Auditions for IHM occurred on April , but if you are interested in joining, don’t worry! Private auditions can still be held until July. Individuals who audition for IHM are asked to preform six minutes of Hawaiian or Hawaii themed music. Applicants are required to play an instrument and sing. If a student only plays an instrument or only sings, they may still be accepted into the program but they will be asked to develop the other skill during their time at IHM. Donaghy hopes that 15-17 new students will join IHM in the Fall 2017 semester.
The IHM program has big plans for the future, including a renovation of their recording studio and an extension of the program to the island of Molakai. IHM classes should be available on Molakai by the Fall 2018 semester. Donaghy also plans to develop an Academic Subject Certificate in Hawaiian preforming arts which would include a hula focus. There is also a plan to bring Hawaiian content to every music class currently available at UH Maui College.
You can watch IHM students perform on Friday, April 21 at 11 a.m. at the Earth Day event at UH Maui College and 6 p.m. during Kama’aina Night at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.
IHM students will also be performing at “Nā Mele Kahe Wale,” the 5th Anniversary Celebration of the Institute of Hawaiian Music, at the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku, on April 29.
For more information about IHM visit http://www.maui.hawaii.edu/ihm/ or http://www.maui.hawaii.edu/music/. To inquire about auditioning for IHM for the Fall 2017 semester, email Keola Donaghy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 808-984-3570. To purchase IHM’s Na Hoku Hanohano award winning CD “Aloha `Ia No `O Maui” visit mele.com. All funds from CD purchases benefit the IHM program. For more information on Kūikawā visit https://kuikawamusic.com/ or watch their videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVmkUDfKOb0akG99QoEOiKw.