News Column

A mishmash of family fun and news

May 10, 2014

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

May 10--Rock on

Summertime music lessons will help budding performers young and old gain skills and self-confidence

When Gracie Schleinkofer started working with Brian Albus at Rock Works School of Music, the shy eighth-grader didn't want to sing.

It took a year for her to open up, and now the talented Castle High School sophomore has a few concerts under her belt and even plays in a band.

"Before, I wouldn't sing in front of people because I had some bad experiences," Schleinkofer, 15, said last week at Rock Work's Kaneohe studio. "But now I think I've overcome that.

"This place has helped to grow my confidence a lot."

It showed as Schleinkofer sang the Demi Lovato ballad "Warrior" with help from fellow Rock Works student Celina Tong, 10, on keyboard. Schleinkofer was still a bit modest, apologizing for "sounding like a frog," but with each day her self-esteem grows.

Building confidence is the key goal at Rock Works, a "school of rock" that Albus started in 1982. The school, which accepts students of all ages (including adults), focuses on the five basics of rock music -- vocals, guitar, bass, drums and piano/keyboard -- and stresses the importance of public performances by staging shows.

"It's not so much whether you should learn the piano and become really good at the piano. It's more about you feeling good and you really liking the piano," Albus said. "These kids, you ask them if they like music, they go 'Yeah, I love music.' And that's what we want to maintain. The one wish I have is to not turn them off of music."

While the school is always accepting students, Rock Works is currently preparing for its annual summer camps. The camps are open to individuals 7 years old and above, regardless of experience, with classes two times a week for three to four weeks at both Rock Work's Kaneohe studio and Paradise Park in Manoa.

The camps are split into three sessions: June 9-July 2, July 7-Aug. 2 and Aug. 4-23. Students can sign up for a single or multiple sessions.

The first two sessions, which cost $150 each, run four weeks for a total of eight classes (12 hours of instructional time), while the third session ($120) is three weeks (nine hours). Discounts are available for those signing up with family and/or friends.

Classes are divided by age groups and students will learn not only the instrument of their choice -- most kids like the drums, Albus noted -- they will learn a couple others as well. Cycling through different instruments is routine at Rock Works to help students learn to share and work together.

Unlike traditional music classes, Rock Works dives right into playing instruments -- which means little to no emphasis on reading music, a process that takes time and, Albus said, is when a lot of youngsters lose interest.

"Did you learn to read first or to speak first?" he asked. "I always get the same answer whenever I ask that question. You always learn to speak first. So we teach them how to speak on the guitar, how to speak on the bass, how to speak on the drums.

"So this summer, we'll have kids in here and the very first day they'll be playing a song. Not a complicated song, but it's the coordination."

For more information on Rock Works and its summer camps, contact Albus at 953-7631 or

Stefanie Nakasone, Star-Advertiser

Event will be jam-packed with baby and family fun

The 17th annual New Baby Expo is back, bringing one-stop shopping and fun family events to the Neal Blaisdell Exhibition Hall on May 17 and 18.

More than 150 exhibitors will showcase baby products from futons to burp cloths and keiki fashion.

As usual, parents are invited to bring their little ones to the Hawaii Baby Crawling Contest, while expectant moms and their guests can participate in Hawaii's Largest Baby Shower in the Main Events Room.

Costumed characters including Curious George, Yoohoo from "Yoohoo & Friends" and Hooper from PBS Hawaii will be near the front entrance every other hour for photo opportunities.

There will also be a Babies R Us baby stroller review and seminars on birthing, breast-feeding, keiki safety and teaching kids to swim in the ocean.

The New Baby Expo, organized by Family Expositions, takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at the exhibition hall, 777 Ward Ave. General admission is $5.50; children ages 5 and under free. Visit to receive a $1-off coupon and updates.

Nina Wu, Star-Advertiser

Bunny tales hop to isle libraries

Coming soon to a library near you: Hono lulu Theatre for Youth's kid-friendly production of "Peter Rabbit and the Garden."

Many generations of American kids have grown up with Beatrix Potter's gentle, beautifully illustrated stories about Peter Rabbit; his sisters, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail; and their cousin, Benjamin Bunny. If you have young children who haven't met Peter yet, this is an excellent opportunity for them to make his acquaintance.

HTY has adapted two stories about Peter's potentially fatal adventures in Mr. McGregor's vegetable garden (Mrs. McGregor is known to bake rabbit pie). Peter loses his jacket and shoes during one exciting visit to the garden. The show adds lessons of friendship and healthful eating habits to the traditional tale.

Brittni Shambaugh and Lavour Addison play multiple roles in the story of an impulsive young rabbit who learns about the importance of balancing curiosity with responsibility.

A free study guide with suggestions for story-related activities is available at

John Berger, Star-Advertiser


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Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)

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