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Music has a home in Lahaina

By Staff | Sep 21, 2017

Maui Music Mission offers free ukulele lessons at The Outlets of Maui on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. in front of Maika‘i Woods ukulele shop.

LAHAINA – West Maui musicians of all ages and experience levels now have a place to gather in Lahaina: Maui Music Mission, where the essential practice of music in its unending facets and fundamentals is flourishing.?

This “mission” is unique, as it serves as an outreach to West Maui keiki.

MMM’s new permanent location is in the Longhi’s building at 930 Wainee St. (on the right side across from Smokehouse BBQ).

There are three air-conditioned classrooms where 35 keiki attend the After School Music Club. Children ages 5-12 spend two hours after school on various days practicing ukulele, piano, violin and voice.

The After School Music Club enrolls new members at the beginning of each of four quarters per school year. The sessions are 9-10 weeks each and follow the public school calendar days.

Sisters Skye and Isla Carroll are intermediate level music students in the After School Music Club.

Enrollment closes two weeks into each session to allow for progressive learning.

A keiki ukulele group performs every first and third Friday at The Outlets of Maui. All students are encouraged to participate so they can persevere through potential nervousness.

“The stage is a magical place where confidence is key, and it brings out a side to our students that cannot be seen in the classroom,” noted Reuben Pali, who founded MMM with his wife, Ronda.

Musical activities increase brain development by engaging both left and right brain simultaneously, Reuben said, and the physiological effects of playing a musical instrument while reading notation are proven to advance learning and comprehension in other areas.

Music also spurs joy and gives artists a vehicle to impact and inspire listeners.

Reuben learned to play the ukulele in the Hawaiian tradition: from members of his family when he was growing up.

His professional experience in music and stage was developed here on Maui by getting involved with events at every opportunity.

He is best known for his eight years of tending the Salvation Army Christmas Bell at Safeway, where he sang to shoppers each December.

While participating in the entertainment at Lahaina Cannery Mall’s annual Kahiau Angel Tree giving project, Reuben envisioned that keiki would be the ones to take the stage, and that he would teach them.

He had a few students already, and when those “Puamana Boys” had their moment in December 2014, the audience responded with enthusiasm.

After that, Maui Music Mission was formed. It has been steadily taking shape over the past two-and-a-half years.

Reuben and Ronda find great satisfaction in helping students grasp musical concepts and develop the stamina and dexterity to play.

“It is an uplift for everyone when these developments happen. It’s like the lights are coming on! That’s why we’ve been dedicating all of our time to creating programs which are affordable and easy to access. It has been challenging to keep up with the growth, and that’s a blessing,” he commented.

To celebrate the opening of Maui Music Mission Studio, there is an introductory special of $25 for a first personal lesson. This is available to keiki and adults of all ages.

Time spent with an instructor will advance students’ skills at a much faster rate, and personal enjoyment of playing an instrument will also increase. Students can choose from ukulele, guitar, bass, piano, flute, violin, cello or voice lessons.

For information, call 463-7856, e-mail mauimusicmission@gmail.com or join MMM’s public Facebook group.