FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Four-time Grammy award winning composer Billy Childs is making a few stops in the Central Valley-- and not just to perform. The musician is working with several jazz bands from local schools Wednesday and Thursday.
Childs, a world-renowned jazz pianist and composer, is taking on a new role-- class instructor. Fresno, Central, and Madera Unified School Districts worked together to bring the four-time Grammy award-winning artist into local classrooms to work with band students. "It starts at a very early age, and, to cultivate, to use skills to be able to accurately express yourself through music, I think, is really important," said Childs.
As school budget cuts have limited music and arts programs around the country in recent years Childs stresses the importance of music, both in and out of the classroom. "It deals with problem solving, it deals with logic and vocabulary."
He teaches the students patience and practice makes progress. "If I can inspire someone to try to achieve excellence, that would be great too. You want to be your best self. The Grammys, the awards, will come," said Childs.
"No matter how hard you work there's still more you can do, it's saying to me not to give up," said Catalina Pineda, sophomore.
Even, after all, his success, Childs said he's still working to perfect his craft. "Yeah, I'll probably get it right when I'm 100."
"That says that we need to try our hardest every day in class, out of class," said Jasmine Romero, junior.
Like Romero, who wants to continue her marching band career in college. "I'm a tuba player and I can still take my tuba home, so there's no excuse to not practice and be the best and get to his level."
"I started playing music in high school, and I just hope to be able to give back some of the experience," said Childs.
Childs is expected to be at Madera High School Thursday for three more sessions with their students.