GEORGETOWN, Texas -- Students in Georgetown learned from one of the world's greatest violinists on Tuesday. But Christian Howes hopes they take away more than just some new skills.
From child prodigy, to serving a prison sentence and back, he has more than one lesson to give.
"It's very inspiring," said Georgetown High School Senior and Violinist Brandy Cude.
The techniques Howes uses are unique.
"I think he called it the 'chop drop, with the bow,'" said GHS senior Shelby Yakesch.
The music is familiar.
"He talks a lot about the melody line," Yakesch said.
"It makes playing your string instrument very fun again," explained GHS Orchestra Director Mary Powers.
Powers hopes her dedicated students leave the workshop inspired and encouraged to keep it up.
"They sky is the limit for them as performers and for enjoyment as an adult," she said.
"For like 14 years I've really committed to being an educator as well as a performer," said Howes.
Howes started playing at 5-years-old, and at just 17, he started to play professionally in an orchestra.
"Ive succeeded because I found my voice, I want these kids to find their voice," he said.
Howes hopes these students will take away more than just a new technique, because the road to becoming a premiere violinist isn't an easy one. He's had his own fair share of setbacks.
"There was a lot of challenges I had when I was young. I think difficult, you know, bad choices I made, acting out," Howes said.
Those bad choices landed him in prison, sentenced to six to 25 years on drug charges. What got him through was his music.
"Giving a child a sense of feeling special, they have something special to offer. It certainly helped me through all of those difficult times," Howes explained.
He got out of prison on good behavior after four years and committed his life to performing and teaching.
"It's really cool to have an example of somebody who does this everyday," said Cude.
"The music always gave me this sense of focus," Howes said. "It gave me a sense that I could, that I was capable of you know accomplishing things."
Now he hopes these teens feel empowered to improvise and create their own sound.
"Music is just awesome. I love it. I want to play it for years and years to come," said Cellist Misael Romero.
The students are performing a free concert with Howes in the GHS Auditorium at 7 p.m. Tuesday.