Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar

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Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar

A fun way to visit Hawaii through music.  Learn to sing and accompany yourself on the guitar in the old Hawaiian folk and slack key styles.  


  • "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar"- by Mark Hanson.  ISBN: 978-0936799209.
  • "Guitar Playing Hawaiian Style" by Ozzie Kotani.  ISBN: 978-0786688043.
  •  Personal guitar, foot stool, and music stand.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate basic and advancing proper hand and finger coordination.
  2. Read tablature notation.
  3. Demonstrate beginning and advancing rhythmic patterns.

Student Testimonial

"The comradery in the class.  My weekly decompression--so good!"  Highline Student Spring 2016

"Sheryl really brings the Aloha alive."  Highline Student Spring 2016

Instructor Bio

Image of the Instructor

Sheryl Akaka is currently an instructor for Continuing Education at Highline College in Des Moines, Washington where she teaches courses in Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Guitar for All Levels, and Piano for All Levels.  She received her Bachelor of Education; College of Education Professional Diploma; Hawai’i Department of Education Certificate for Public School Education; and Master of Arts in Muisic Education degrees from the University of Hawai’i in Honolulu, Hawai’i.  She taught music at the Kamehmeha Intermediate/High Schools, Honolulu Waldorf School, Yamaha Piano Course, Windward Shool for Adults (Community Outreach), and the Guitar and Piano classes at the Kapi’olani Community College, and Honolulu Community College Humanities Divisions.  In 2001 she relocated to Washington State to begin teaching Piano and Guitar classes for the Music Department of the Humanities Division, and Continuing Education at Highline Community College; and also taught Continuing Education Guitar classes at Green River Community College.  At the same time, she obtained her State of Washington Professional Education Certificate validated for Life Service as a Certified Substitute Teacher Preschool-12, and is currently teaching in the Federal Public School District.

She is also a Certified Music Practitioner for the Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP.org) since 2003, serving hospice patients in transition at the bedside for MultiCare Good Samaritan Home Health Hospice and at St Francis Hospital ICU in Federal Way.   As a Student Adivisor for MHTP, she serves students across the nation in becoming Certified Music Practitioners.

In addition to private instruction, Sheryl enjoys performing for Community events: Weddings, Memorials, Fundraisers, and Workshops including performing in the Northwest Folklife Festival, and presenting the annual Live Aloha Hawaiian Festival Slack Key Workshop.

What do you enjoy about teaching?

I enjoy teaching as a way of discovering myself in the process of learning.   

What drove you into the teaching field?

What drives me to teach is that “teachers are essential is supporting students to be aware of the way they think and what motivates them to learn. Only when the teacher and student are in cooperation with discovery, exploration, imagination, improvisation and acceptance, can the student’s voice be a true reflection of what they need to grow.”  


Map of Highline College highlighting building 4 room 104

Class Details:

Video Link:
Akaka S
Bldg 4 Rm 122
Class Day(s):
Class Date(s):
01/07/2020   -   03/10/2020
Class Time(s):
06:15 pm - 08:15 pm
Item Number: