Hawaiian Music Online Certificate at WCC


Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Study moʻolelo and Hawaiian composition with Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, slack key guitar and ʻukulele with Kamuela Kimokeo, singing with Raiatea Helm, and the basics of recording software with Kapena De Lima.

These offerings are all part of Kaʻohekani, a groundbreaking one-year online certificate in Hawaiian music offered exclusively at Windward Community College (WCC).

“Within a Hawaiian worldview, balance contributes to our joy and understanding of our kuleana,” said Kimokeo, director of the Hawaiʻi Music Institute at WCC. “This certificate offers a balanced approach to learning Hawaiian music. From beginner to professional, students will be able to share the joy of music within their ʻohana and with others for generations to come.”

Kimokeo performs with Jerry Santos and his own Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning group Hiʻikua. Hewett is a legendary kumu hula, songwriter, and Merrie Monarch Festival judge. Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning and Grammy-nominated Helm is known for her powerful vocals. De Lima is part of the group, Kapena, and is an award-winning sound engineer and producer.

Graduates from the first cohort say the experience of learning online allowed them to be anywhere and learn on their own time.

“When we met online as a group we learned from each other and encouraged each other,” said Iwalani Raes from Oregon, who also earned a Hawaiʻiloa online Hawaiian studies associate’s degree.

“I took an online course with vocalist Raiatea Helm from Molokaʻi,” said Kimo Adams. “Raiatea’s aloha for all her students came across in our online class – so maikaʻi! I recommend this class to anyone interested in making Hawaiian music a career or with an interest in improving their voice.”

The next cohort (Fall 2023 to Spring 2024) aims to deepen participants’ understanding of Hawaiian music performance and history. With reputable industry professionals as instructors, students will learn how to improve their performance skills, use music in various educational settings, and how music can be a tool to connect with our island home.

Scholarships for the program are available and sponsored by Kanileʻa ʻUkulele and the Henry Kapono Foundation. “These scholarships will help students access a formal music education and connect them to legendary Hawaiian music artists,” said Kimokeo.

In addition, Native Hawaiian participants living on the continent may qualify for in-state tuition, while the Hoʻolei Scholarship is available to Windward Oʻahu high school students enrolled at WCC.

A series of Zoom information sessions about the Kaʻohekani certificate program will be offered beginning on Feb. 17. Register at go.hawaii.edu/GFk.

For program information visit windward.hawaii.edu/programs-of-study/kaohekani/ or email Kimokeo at kamuelam@hawaii.edu. For general info about application and registration contact Haʻaheo Pagan at 808-235-7460 or email at paganj@hawaii.edu.