UH-West Oahu Music Course Offers Jump-start To College

Musically inclined students entering grades 11 and 12 this fall are invited to apply to University of Hawaii West Oahu’s Summer Music Works songwriting program.

“We’re looking for students who love music, who can sing, rap or play an instrument, and who want to learn more,” said UH-West Oahu assistant professor of music Jon Magnussen.

Open to Waipahu, Nanakuli, Waianae, Anuenue and Farrington high school students, the program will run from June 3 to July 3. Participants also will earn three college credits, as well as high school credit.

“The program strives to provide an awareness of skills helpful for success in college and in life, to support the growth of new musical talent at the pre-college level, and to provide an awareness of potential career paths in music,” Magnussen explained.

He was inspired to launch the program after observing outreach services his colleagues were providing to the community and sought to provide a different method of inspiring area youths to complete and continue their education. The program is now in its third year.

“When I learned that more than a third of all Leeward coast students were leaving school without a diploma, I felt that our institution of higher education – the main provider of a four-year college degree in our region – could contribute to the solution by finding an alternative (musical) way to engage this region’s youths and challenge them to finish high school and go to college,” he said.

Sessions are scheduled on various days throughout the five-week course. In addition to being able to tour UH’s music facilities, students will have the opportunity to record their original songs and prepare for a finale performance at 7 p.m. July 3 on the UH-West Oahu campus.

Participants also can meet and work with industry professionals such as Willie K, Henry Kapono, Kalehua Krug and Dean Taba.

Offered through a U.S. Department of Education Title III grant, Summer Music Works also is receiving additional support from a UH Diversity of Equity Initiative Award, the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii’s Waianae Clubhouse and the UH West Oahu Music Fund.

It is free to those who are accepted, and it can accommodate up to 25 participants.

Interested students must contact their school’s college counselor to enroll in Summer Music Works through the Running Start program.

Application materials are due May 13 and must include a letter of recommendation from a teacher, as well as a statement of intent from the student.

For more information, visit uhwo.hawaii.edu/musicworks.