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Keiki can learn about music at Musical Instrument Petting Zoo

By Staff | Mar 15, 2016

Maui Music Mission offers opportunities for children to learn and perform music.

LAHAINA – Keiki ages 6-12 can explore musical instruments and meet the musicians who play them at a Musical Instrument Petting Zoo on Friday, March 25.

This family event will be held at Lahaina Cannery Mall from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Admission is free.

At this opportunity for keiki to discover where music comes from and how it’s made, professional musicians from Maui orchestras and high schools will be present to pass on the powerful gift of music.

At the “zoo,” keiki receive a “passport” upon arrival and get a stamp when they explore each musical booth. The children get to view musical instruments up close while the musicians talk story with them about how music is created. Keiki can share the magic of inspiration and learn how focus and perseverance lead to fulfillment. The children can then redeem their filled passport for a musical prize.

Due to the absence of music programs in schools, West Siders Reuben and Ronda Pali are compelled to stand in the gap where the music is missing.

They established Maui Music Mission by first providing group keiki ukulele lessons at Na ‘Aikane ‘o Maui in Lahaina, then Chorus at The Salvation Army Chapel, as well as frequent opportunities to perform. In addition, music camps are held during spring and summer breaks, as well as a weekly class at Pomaika’i School in Kahului. A six-week Hawaiian Ukulele Workshop will be held at the Boys and Girls Club beginning April 5. The class is free to club members (membership is $10 per year).

These programs are made possible by a new community of “Musicians on a Mission,” whose purpose is to introduce music to elementary school age keiki by joining in to teach a weekly class, provide access to personal lessons, and support for the mission’s programs.

According to Reuben, “It is extremely rewarding to see kids light up like the stars that they are, and to know that we helped them find their shine.

“By the age of eight years, kids are typically ready and receptive to learning music. Ideally, they would be introduced to rhythm and singing by age three, thereby revealing natural aptitudes. However, the truth of our society today is that primary music isn’t available in public schools until junior high. Those who have a teacher who uses music in the classroom are very blessed indeed, because their physical brain development will empower them with stronger and faster academic reception. That is not to mention the emotional control, physical stamina and discipline that are gained as part of the practice.”

The “zoo” is a way for children to get a glimpse into musical realms. Have you ever seen a tuba, held a violin, or tooted a flute? Think about your own first time playing an instrument. Are your kids getting the same opportunity to try? “We believe it is up to us to provide this introduction, and to have as much fun as we can handle while doing it,” he added.

There will be raffles, contests, prizes, performances, a silent auction and more at the “zoo.” The purpose is to build scholarship funds that will open doors for everyone to join Maui Music Mission programs.

Students are now selling $5 raffle tickets for a chance to win a $300 Electric Ukulele Package. The drawing will be held March 25 after the event. There will be a silent auction fundraiser with items such as electric guitars and fine artwork. Maui Music Mission seeks donations of activities, gift certificates, artwork, musical equipment and instruments, retail gift baskets and other marketable items that can be used to raise scholarship funds.

MMM is committed to providing quality music education with affordable tuition. Its goal is to provide at least ten scholarships this year, each valued at $1,000. The group also has a “Scholarship Builder” option that combines smaller contributions. Visit mkt.com/mauimusicmission for sponsorship information.

All participants, parents and escorts will be entered into a free drawing for one “Waterman” Ukulele by Makala. This special ukulele can go to the beach, and even get wet, yet it plays perfectly. You must be present to win the Waterman.

Call 463-7856 or visit facebook/mauimusicmission for more information.