Maui News

UHMC’s Institute for Hawaiian Music offers course on creating music for West Maui

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UHMC IHM Group Photo. PC: University of Hawaiʻi Maui College Institute of Hawaiian Music

The University of Hawaiʻi Maui College’s Institute for Hawaiian Music will form a cohort of students for the Fall 2023 semester to participate in a unique Hawaiian music composing course entitled, “Ha‘ina Ko Wehi: Celebrating West Maui in Mele.”

The course will culminate in the production of a compilation CD of songs the students have composed during the semester. The course is free. And upon completion of the project, each participant will receive a certificate of achievement from IHM, a copy of the CD and a $750 stipend. Participation is limited to 12 students.

UHMC IHM Molokaʻi Final Concert. PC: University of Hawaiʻi Maui College Institute of Hawaiian Music

Sessions will all be held on Saturdays. An information session about the course will be held on Wednesday, May 17, at 5 p.m. in Room 108 in the Ka‘a‘ike Building on the UH Maui College Kahului campus AND via Zoom.


In the first half of the semester, students will work with music industry mentors to learn the art and craft of songwriting – in both English and ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i – and music composition. They will travel to West Maui’s historic sites and learn about these places from those who are kama‘āina (residents).

In the second half of the semester, students will again work with their mentors to compose songs and prepare to record them.

Finally, students will record their songs at IHM’s Apo Leo Learning Studio. As with other IHM groups, the recordings will be released as a compilation.


“West Maui is a storied and powerful area whose history is unparalleled,” said Dr. Keola Donaghy, Assistant Professor of Music and faculty coordinator at IHM. “Preserving this knowledge and these experiences through mele is a cultural legacy that will serve untold future generations. Excursions during the semester will include time to explore sites, gain familiarity with winds, rains, sea names, significant individuals, as well explore the songwriting process,” he said.

UHMC IHM students with Jake Shimabukuro. PC: University of Hawaiʻi Maui College Institute of Hawaiian Music

Anyone interested and unable to attend may make an appointment to meet with Dr. Donaghy individually. For more information on this program, visit and contact Dr. Donaghy at

The Institute of Hawaiian Music was founded in 2012 and has prepared many students for careers in Hawaiian music and entertainment. The program has released five compilation CDs, three of which have been honored with Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards.


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