Notes of Kalani


Staff photo 2021.

Walk by room C-10 at Kalani High School, and you may hear some tunes: beautiful etudes and melodies seeping out of the cracks of the building. But who and what creates such music?

Tanya Marishige (11), under the guidance of Rory Onishi, attends the Piano 1 course at Kalani High School every other school day. In this class, students are to learn the basics of piano, from the positioning of the arm to the several components that go into playing a song. According to Marishige, the purpose is for the students both new and accustomed to the piano to simply learn and improve their piano foundations.

“I came into this class not knowing anything about piano or music for that matter like I did not know anything, and going into this class helped me take something out of it, whether that’s just like, knowing how to correctly position my hands, or reading the chords, it has taught me a lot,” Marishige said. 

In Piano 1, techniques that are taught by Mr. Onishi can be utilized outside of the piano. Marishige says that chords and scales are one of the main parts of the class and that they can be applied to other music. But with that, students should be prepared for the work involved in learning piano. 

“When you’re learning a piece, especially for learning pieces, you have to have this patience inside of you cause you can’t get it all at one try, you know?” Marishige added. “In life, it’s like that too, you can’t get everything in one try, you can keep coming back to it, and just keep trying and eventually you’ll get it, and that’s what I’ve learned with piano. I guess you can apply that into my life.”

He’s a good, easy teacher, and I can really see that he enjoys teaching music.

— Tanya Marishige

The class structure is quite simple. According to Marishige, Onishi starts every class with a small lecture on what content the students will be going over that day, and then they are assigned a few pieces to play on the piano on their own. While that is happening, Onishi walks around the class and checks the students’ progress while assisting with content that may not be understood fully.

This teaching style seems to be a hit amongst the students, and Marishige expresses that she has learned a lot when compared to her not “knowing anything” beforehand. 

Students noted, in particular, that he has a passion for teaching music. 

“He’s a good, easy teacher, and I can really see that he enjoys teaching music,” she said. 

Students also said that Onishi does a good job of explaining difficult concepts. 

“I think he’s one of the better, understanding teachers,” Marishige shared.