Last May, high school students from all Hawaiian Islands were flown in to Honolulu for a two-day music hack to create a new anthem for the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s canoe, Hokulea, which will be departing on another round-the-world tour in a couple years. The event was graced by PVS founder, Nainoa Thompson, music legend Henry Kapono and a mobile sound studio by M&M. Under the leadership of Mark Loughridge, Bizgenics Foundation produced the hack as one of three at the STEM Works conference. Two other hacks, a 3D printing coral anchor design challenge and an app development challenge to create a bird watching app for the Manu O Ku (white tern)

STEM + Soft Skills

We produce hacks that combine multi-disciplinary learning, both in terms of foundational knowledge mastery like STEM as well as soft skills like 4Cs (creativity, critical-thinking, collaboration and communication skills). On the STEM side, music is highly mathematical, has formulaic notation language and requires highly technical engineering skills to produce. As part of the hack, each student had to participate in sound recording engineering in a professional recording studio. At the same time, because the hack was arranged in teams, 4Cs skills were taught by first-hand experience.

An Ocean of Outcomes

Songs developed over the two-days were so good that Nainoa thought up a concept of “Lei of Song” which will entail students at upcoming port of calls to write their own verse of the anthem and record it to be placed onto a global lei of music that encircles the world. Work to create the final anthem is in the works with the possibility of an album created to feature candidate pieces created at the hack. Listen to compositions:


Fishes in the Sea

Spreading Aloha

Listen to the Ocean

Stand as One