Hālau Mele Hawai‘i ‘o Pahinui

Pahinui School of Hawaiian Music

Educational Programs and Workshops

In 2007, we expanded our instructional programs to establish Halau Mele Hawai‘i O Pahinui (Pahinui School of Hawaiian Music).


The program features group and private instruction in Kiho‘alu or slack key guitar, steel guitar, ukulele, song selection and composition, and the making and playing of ancient Hawaiian instruments.

“During my dad, Gabby Pahinui’s life, weekends at the Pahinui home in Waimanalo were a continuous jam session, dozens of musicians, both young and old, came by to jam with “the Master.” Many of Hawai‘i’s best musicians came out to these backyard kanikapila sessions.


In the early 80’s, Kanikapila sessions were founded at “Pop’s” Gabby Pahinui’s namesake Waimanalo Park Pavilion to feature and perpetuate Gabby, his Ohana and his Hawaiian style kiho‘alu-slack key music.


Classes at Halau Mele Hawai‘i O Pahinui are taught in the kanikapila style, nana ka maka; ho‘olohe ka pepeiao, which means “Watch with the eyes, and listen with the ears.” Thus one learns. Students of all levels are guided through simple exercises and solos to create the unique Hawaiian music sounds.


Students learn the use of vibrato, harmonics, slurs, harmonies in thirds and sixths, cord-work, legato playing, traditional rhythms and percussion, and other musical ideas that have helped create the distinctive Slack Key guitar sound.


Instructors include: Cyril Pahinui and many other Masters of Hawaiian music who join him regularly as instructors to share their own unique sounds, tunings, and stylings.


The term “slack key” refers to the musical style and the way the guitar is tuned.  Cyril Pahinui teaches several slack key tunings developed by the masters of slack key guitar including Atta Isaacs, Sonny Chillingworth, Leonard Kwan and his father, Gabby Pahinui. His favorite developed by his dad and favored by Atta Isaccs is his C Major Tuning (C-G-E-G-C-E).


A $40 fee is charged to each student. Serious students under the age of 20 may attend on scholarship.


Students must bring their own guitar.

For more information on classes and locations please email cyril@cyrilpahinui.com