HONOLULU — A portable classroom at Ala Wai Elementary School has been transformed into the Jake Shimabukuro Clubhouse for Music Learning and Appreciation to enhance music education for students.
Known as “Jake’s Clubhouse,” the space is equipped with a range of instruments including more than 100 ukulele, a dozen guitars, four pianos and 15 percussion instruments, a mini recording studio, performance stage, classroom space and ukulele repair workshop.
The ukulele virtuoso and Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner is a former student of Ala Wai Elementary and helped dedicate the classroom during a ceremony Tuesday along with the nonprofit Music for Life Foundation, which initiated the project.
“Everything in there belongs to you. Get in there. Get inspired,” Shimabukuro told students gathered in the cafeteria for the announcement. “Whether or not we know it, we are all musicians. Music is the language of the universe. It helps us to communicate with each other. It helps us to connect with each other.”
Ala Wai Principal Michelle DeBusca said the school, which already provides music education for students in all grade levels, envisions Jake’s Clubhouse serving as a resource center for students before, during and after school.
“We want this room to be an inspiration and a place where students can come and explore. Teachers will sign up and use it as much as they want to,” DeBusca said. “Our teachers engage student curiosity and creativity to help our students figure out what their passions are.”
Leo Daquioag, founder and president of Music for Life Foundation, said in addition to providing musical instruments, the clubhouse is designed to expose students to a range of careers in the music industry, including audio engineering, stage management and songwriting.
“Our mission is to keep music alive in our schools and this is one of the ways to do it,” Daquioag said.
The nonprofit organized sponsors to bring the clubhouse to life, including Kamaka Hawaii, Kala Brand Music Co., Shima Sound Studio and Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu.
In recognition of the classroom dedication, Gov. David Ige proclaimed Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 “Music Learning and Appreciation Week” and Mayor Kirk Caldwell proclaimed Oct. 2 “Jake Shimabukuro Day.”