Community College Combines Mele, Hula, and Hawaiian Culture in New Online Course

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Windward Community College offers an all-new music program that mixes Hawaiian songs and hula.

Music instructor Kamuela Kimokeo and kumu hula Kawaikapuokalani Hewett created the online course called Ka’ohekani, which means “sounding bamboo”.

“For me, the more a musician knows about the hula, the better,” Kimokeo said. “The more the hula dancer knows about music, the more opportunity he or she has to connect and have that synergy to really tell the story the way it was meant to be told.”

Through a series of eight-week sessions, students learn the stories behind well-known Hawaiian songs, how to play them and how to perform them in dance. At the end of the course, they earn a newly created certificate in Hawaiian Music.

“We start with the very basic steps of the hula. We are going to learn the melee, the songs. We’re going to learn the mooolelo, the stories and the stories about those scrums, ”Hewett said.

The one-year program is complete. In face-to-face lessons, it would take two years. And he earns 25 college credits.

“It offers a balanced approach to learning Hawaiian music,” Kimokeo said.

Students will also learn to compose their own songs, but no musical experience or knowledge of hula is required.

“The movements of the hula are linked to the lyrics of the song. And that’s really, really important, ”Hewett said.

Windward tested the course in March and it was well received. Ka’ohekani is open to anyone in Hawaii and the mainland, but registration is limited.

“If you love Hawaiian music, this program is for you,” Kimokeo said.

The course will start on August 23. An online information session will take place on Friday.

To learn more, Click here.

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