Songs for Change with Pomaika’i Elementary

Songs for Change with Pomaika’i Elementary

School Children love music! With their unfiltered imaginations, they make great songwriting partners! The creativity of learning to see their world through the art of music and lyrics while conveying a musical story they want others to feel with them, is both exciting and empowering!

The inspiring students of Pomaika’I Elementary School, a Public School in the Waikapu District of Maui, and their teachers chose a school theme for their 2017-2018 school year, “the wellness of the ʻāina (land) is the wellness of the people.”

Pomaika’I Elementary School has developed a S.T.E.A.M. and Arts Immersion Education Curriculum that has been in place for 10 years. The Songwriting Residency with Melinda Caroll was designed for K thru 5 plus the Teachers Songwriting Workshops to compose a 10th Anniversary Song for Pomaika’i. 

Our goals were to:

  • Lead the students into a personal relationship with the garden during the process of songwriting creativity
  • Help the students develop a sense of place in our fragile island home and our place in the world.
  • Create new stories that deepened their understanding of garden-based learning.

The theme for all songs was: “The wellness of the ʻāina (Land) is the wellness of the people.”

All music and songs were written through this “lens” of the garden. Also embedded into the writing process was Nā Hopena A‘o (“HĀ”) a framework of outcomes that reflects the Department of Education’s core values and beliefs in action throughout the public educational system of Hawaii.


Melinda's job as Songwriting Artist in Residence was to help integrate and embody their classroom “garden” S.T.E.A.M. concepts and Hawaiian values, with both the students and teachers into memorable songs. David Kauahikaua and Melinda Caroll worked with Rae Takemoto, Founder and Arts Integration Coordinator of Pomaika’i Elementary School in Maui, the only Arts Integration public school in the state of Hawai’i with less than a dozen in the U.S. mainland.

The Melinda Caroll Songwriting Residency, was sponsored by When We Shine Foundation and Malamalama Maui, with a creative placemaking project grant by ArtPlace America. Our budget allowed us do the songwriting residency with one classroom from Kindergarten through 5th Grade, plus a special songwriting class from teachers. In addition, funding for the actual CD recording project was provided separately by Friends of Pomaika’i, Arts Integration supporters for the school.

Read more about this project here

Want to host your own songwriting residency? 

Want to host a songwriting residency with your students? Check out how our songwriting residences work and then get in touch, we'd love to support you!