AUSTIN -- In a city known for live music, a local high school band director is getting national attention for his music.
Alan Guckian, band director at Eastside Memorial High School in East Austin, beat out 4,500 other nominees and is one of 25 finalists for the Grammy Music Educator Award.
At one point, there were talks Eastside Memorial would be shut down. There's been a lot of ups and downs, but now Guckian is giving this community something to be proud of.
Walk into a pep rally and you may catch Guckian picking up an instrument to play alongside his students. He's even been known to bust out a rap over the microphone.
"As long as it gets them to do what I need them to do sound wise, if they give me the sound that I'm looking for: whatever it takes," said Guckian.
Guckian started a blues band class at Eastside Memorial. He also offers a more hands-on approach, as opposed to standing at the front at the conductor's podium.
He tells KVUE he wants to teach more than notes and formations; he also wants to give these students stability.
"Sometimes they wake up and mom's there, sometimes dad's there, sometimes nobody's there, sometimes they come home to an empty house and it stays that way," said Guckian. "When they come in here, they know they can come in and let their hair down and be musicians."
"Whenever I was a freshman he worked with me, and just built me up. I didn't know how to play these at all," said junior Trent Olson, who is now the drumline section leader and hopes to pursue music in college.
"This is real, what we're doing is hard work just like everybody else, and we're all working through the same goals of getting kids to be better people through music," said Guckian.
The winner of the Grammy Music Educator Award will be announced in December. If Guckian wins, he will get to attend the GRAMMYs and fly to Los Angeles to accept his award.
He also gets $10,000 to spend at the school. Guckian said the first thing he'll do with the money is buy all of his students pizza, as well as some new equipment.