Join The Institute of Hawaiian Music!

Join The Institute of Hawaiian Music!

Are you interested in learning the craft of Hawaiian Music? Do you need to develop your instrumental, vocal, and technical skills, and learn from award-winning recording artists and composers? You can do all of this and much more in the Institute of Hawaiian Music – winner of two Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards! Please email Dr. Keola Donaghy (or call 808-984-3570) for more information or to set up an audition. Classes begin in Spring 2023!

Prospective students will be expected to perform for six minutes, introduce themselves and their song(s), sing and play their instruments, and carry themselves in a professional manner. Reservations are required. 





The Institute of Hawaiian Music’s (IHM) is a one-of-a-kind musical mentorship program dedicated to the perpetuation and preservation of Hawaiian music. The staff and students of the Institute of Hawaiian Music has produced two compilation CDs, “Pukana” in 2013 and “Aloha ‘Ia Nō ‘O Maui” in 2015. The latter was honored as the Compilation Album of the Year at the 2016 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards. Their 2017 recording “Aia I Laila Ka Wai” was nominated in the EP category for the 2018 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, and thei8 2018 recording “He Lani Ko Luna, He Honua Ko Lalo” is a final ballot nominee for the 2019 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards.

Formal university classes are supplemented with direct mentorship sessions led by professional Hawaiian musicians. Students selected for the IHM program will receive exclusive opportunities to receive personal training, guidance, and knowledge through these mentor-mentee relationships with performers, composers and other industry professionals. Visiting mentors have included Keali‘i Reichel, Kenneth Makuakāne, Mailani Makainai, Keola Beamer, Kainani Kahaunaele, Aaron Salā, Raiatea Helm, Jake Shimabukuro, Barry Flanagan, Mark Yamanaka, Chadwick Pang, and former IHM director and Grammy Award-winning slack key guitarist George Kahumoku, Jr.

“Starting a career in Hawaiian music can be a challenge,” said IHM Faculty Coordinator Dr. Keola Donaghy. “Aspiring musicians are often left to their own devices to locate willing mentors and performance partners, receive personal training, find gigs, gain performance experience, produce a recording, and learn the steps necessary to break into the industry. Many don’t reach their true potential because they don’t receive career guidance from experienced, professional musicians.” IHM offers classes in guitar, ukulele, singing, keyboard, composition, music theory, repertoire development, dance, music industry business and marketing, and recording. Students will be given training on their instruments, voice, and harmony. They will be directed in repertoire growth, stage presence, and recording techniques. Students will also complete courses in Hawaiian studies and Hawaiian language to understand the cultural roots of their art.

Students who successfully complete the two-year program will receive an Academic Subject Certificate (A.C.S) in Hawaiian Music. Scholarship support is available for students in the program. Please email or call (808) 984-3570 to receive additional information about the program and to reserve a spot in audition.