SAN ANTONIO – In San Antonio as the headliner for Friday's first Fiesta Family Blues Festival, noted jazz violinist Michael Ward also took time to visit several schools Thursday, including his alma mater, Sam Houston High School.
"That violin took me away from here. Not that I wanted to leave, but it took me around the world," Ward said.
Yet long before the classically trained violinist performed with some of the best musicians and bands, Ward said he played in the Sam Houston High School marching band, the San Antonio Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and he was the youngest member of the Trinity University Community Orchestra.
Bruce Adams, the band director at Sam Houston High School, said he was a student about the same time Ward was there.
"I saw this gentleman perform in high school, and I was blown away by his talent," Adams said.
It seemed many of the students felt the same way upon hearing Ward use his violin as a teaching tool.
"I've never heard anyone play like that," said Kailel Rohlsen-Jackson, a marching band member.
"I've never heard an electric violin," said Jaelen Houston, a marching band member. "I've never seen a violinist before."
Ward's music clinic also included words of advice for those considering a musical career.
"Once you get out there in the professional world, everybody can play," Ward said. "If you ain't got your stuff together, guess what? You go back home."
Web Extra Video:
Ward said he agrees with the saying, "If you want to be a musician, practice, practice, and practice," but suggests to "be a versatile musician. Don't learn one style of music."
In addition to his successful music career, Ward has also been a teacher, had careers in law enforcement and now oversees security for motion pictures being filmed in New Orleans.
But Ward said he still has the freedom to pursue his first love -- the violin.