The Arts


Music at Punahou

Punahou’s nationally recognized music program runs from kindergarten through the Academy. Tens of thousands of students have participated in music education at Punahou through both the Music Department curriculum and Music School, which provides private and group instruction to both Punahou students and those in the community. Although these two entities are distinctive, they work in collaboration to guide the overall music education.

Music Department: K – 12 Curriculum

From kindergarten through fourth grade, Punahou students take part in a comprehensive general music curriculum, as well as Chapel, May Day celebrations and other events. Starting in fifth grade, students select a music direction – either band, orchestra, choir or music explorations. They continue on this path (or they may choose another musical route) through eighth grade, with numerous performances and opportunities for musical growth. In the Academy, an expanded range of offerings designed for novice and accomplished musicians alike provide pathways for graduation requirements and additional elective credit.

Music School: Co-Curricular 

For students interested in furthering their music studies, the Music School provides private instruction in piano, string, wind, brass and percussion, voice, guitar and harp, as well as group classes and chamber music ensemble experiences. Students can also participate in additional complementary programs such as the Suzuki Violin Program, music theory studies, recitals, workshops, and masterclasses.

Visit the Music School for more information ›

List of 3 items.

  • Kindergarten – Grade 5

    Students in grades K – 4 receive a comprehensive music education from our music faculty that includes singing, movement, playing percussion and barred instruments, ‘ukulele and recorder, improvisation, creativity and music literacy. Students are exposed to a wide variety of music, including folk music of America, music in ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i, music from non-Western cultures and other forms of Western music. 

    In Grade 5, students may continue studies in general music by signing up for Music Explorations. Alternatively, they may choose to participate in an orchestra, band or choral ensemble. Orchestra welcomes students with prior experience and those wishing to learn a string instrument for the first time. Band provides opportunities to begin instruction on winds, brass and percussion instruments. Choir allows students to develop vocal independence and sing in harmony with others.
  • Grades 6, 7 and 8

    The Case Middle School music program includes Music Explorations and ensemble experiences in band, choir and orchestra. All middle school students are required to participate in a music class of their choice.
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  • Academy

    In addition to multiple ensemble offerings in orchestra, band, and choir, Academy students may also choose to participate in guitar or Hawaiian music ensembles. Some ensembles require a hearing prior to placement; others have no prerequisite. Additional course offerings include music theory, Creative Music Studio, and a transdisciplinary course Creativity and Composition in which students earn Music and English credit. Academy students must earn two credits in performing or visual arts courses in order to graduate. Many students choose to continue their music instruction through elective credit as well.
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