MHS, UH Manoa Form Partnership in Music Day for Elementary Students


By Maiya Ezawa
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(Timothy Won | Trojan Times) Kaileen Lardizabal (11), left, teaches a first grader play the xylophone. Elementary school students were given the ability to interact and attempt to play instruments after the musicians played a music selection of their choice.

On April 8, 40 MHS students partnered with members of the University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa to put on the third annual Music Day at MHS for the Mililani Complex Elementary School students. It was an opportunity for the students to showcase their musicality whether it was through their wind, string and percussion instruments or their vocals. The event’s goal was to recruit future musicians for their programs.

“Whether the instrument is an instrument or your voice, the bond between musician and instrument is intimate,” expressed music director Kristi Higuchi-Delos-Santos. “You need to respect the instrument as your greatest asset because it is. It is how you are expressing yourself, it is how you are expressing the music, it is how music is shared.”

The students were split into groups based on instrument, and each group had the opportunity to interact with the children and showcase their talent. “During Music Day, Mililani students ranging from kindergartners to fifth grade came to our school. Being a part of the MHS Choir, I helped them with singing activities that were led by (Keane) Ishii, the chorus director. The purpose was to show the students and give them exposure to what music is like in high school.    The band led a session with the students and a few UH Manoa Music Education students also taught a lesson plan,” explained singer Sophomore Evan Imata.

Given the wide variety of music programs available at MHS, Higuchi-Delos-Santos aimed to get musicians from every instrument. “For the music day, I prepared a little short excerpt of “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and “Tale as Old as Time” from Beauty and the Beast to showcase how the flute sounds,” said flutist Junior Stephen Kang.

In addition to introducing a variety of instruments to young musicians, some of the participants had their own goals in mind. “My main goals this Saturday (was to) share what I love to do with children, help out (Higuchi-Delos-Santos and) maybe be able to convince kids to join a music department because it’s great,” explained Kang. “(I wanted) to give the children of the Mililani Complex the opportunity to have music activities outside of a school day and for them to be able to have experiences that they may not receive in school,” added Higuchi-Delos-Santos.

Music is something that is held in extremely high regard for those who play instruments at MHS, and the music day was an opportunity for them to share what they were passionate about. “The most important part about music is that it is a universal language. Anywhere on the planet, even in times of hardship, people can unify under a common love for music. It can be soothing, haunting, sad, hopeful or beautiful. To me, it conveys thoughts and emotions better than words ever could. It holds the power to move people in a unique way, and that is why music is significant, not just here in Mililani, but in all parts of the world,” expressed Imata. “For the kids, I think they can learn that there are so many different things to do in life and that there are options. You don’t just have to bury yourself in schoolwork or always be studying for a test,” added Kang.

In regards to future goals and aspirations for the project, MHS is aiming for a program expansion. “I hope that more students will come to our event.  It is nice to see new faces and a few returning faces each year,” stated Higuchi-Delos-Santos. “I think the goal is to continue to offer days like this where children can come out and just interact with different instruments,” elaborated Kang.

UH Manoa and MHS have plans to continue holding the annual Music Day to elementary school students every April.