Musicians Institute Alums Give Back, Inspire Thru Music Education

Trent Durazo (Vocalist/Songwriter), Carlos Aguilar (Guitarist), Kyle Miller (Drummer) are teachers in the LACER Afterschool Program’s Music Program at Hollywood High School

For several years LACER and Musicians Institute have collaborated thru the Federal Work Study program, placing current MI students to teach and mentor in music education and performance classes for Hollywood High School students.  The LACER Afterschool Program at Hollywood High School has also hired several MI students (after they graduated MI) as paid staff members.   

LACER’s Music Students from Hollywood High performing in MI’s Concert Hall in 2015

We wanted to know more about the music programs at Hollywood High School, and how they have changed the lives of both teachers and students, inspiring their creativity, fostering success in music and transforming lives.

We recently sat down with MI alums and LACER staffers: Trent Durazo, Kyle Miller and current MI Work-study student Carlos Aguilar to share their experiences and insights about the unique collaboration. 

Q: What inspires you the most about working, teaching and mentoring at LACER?

Trent Durazo (AA Vocal Performance class of 2011): “The opportunity to help kids find their inner rock star. Watching a student’s confidence grow as they get better at their instrument and performing with a band is very rewarding. The positive impact that the LACER music classes have on the students is awesome and it’s incredible to be a part of it.”

Kyle Miller (AA Drum Performance class of 2012): “LACER has helped groom me in many ways. It’s helped me to look at other points of views in a musical context as well as in life, and to further think outside the box for new ideas for the programs we provide to keep things fresh and exciting for the students.”

Carlos Aguilar (Bachelor of Music Guitar class of 2018): “What inspires me the most about working with LACER is seeing how this program changes the life of so many kids and opens the doors for them to discover their talents. Seeing how the kids are so passionate and willing to learn is amazing knowing that they are doing something that would benefit their future instead of being out in the streets.”

LACER’s Music Students Performing at The Grammy Museum in 2017

Q: Can you talk a bit about how being an educator has impacted you?

Carlos: “I’ve had a life changing experience working for LACER, because this program opens the doors to a passion of mine that I’ve always had.   Thru LACER, I now have the opportunity to work with classrooms full with students and teach them the craft I love (which is music). The students are so dedicated to music it has even inspired me to work harder every day at my own craft.  You have to be very creative to teach some of the students because every student is different and that has made me learn a lot about working with young adults and the difficulties it may bring.”

Kyle: “As an educator, I want to pass the torch to the next great musicians and working with LACER gives me that platform to do so. The students learn from me and I definitely learn from them.”

Trent: “I never planned on being a teacher, I sort of stumbled into this job, but it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It changed my whole outlook on life; helping kids grow as musicians and seeing that translate into their personal growth is very rewarding. Teaching kids of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels has made me a much better musician as well. They are constantly challenging me to learn new songs that I then have to teach them and it’s really a lot of fun.”

Students in LACER’s Rock Band Workshop at LeConte Middle School Rehearsing

How do feel that your LACER/MI experience has changed your life?

Kyle: “The relationship that I’ve been able to be a part of between LACER and Musicians Institute has been like no other, and I’m very proud to have seen it grow over the years. Thank you both to LACER and Musicians Institute. It will be a time in my life that I won’t ever forget.”

Trent: “I am very grateful to be a part of such an amazing organization and I would not have gotten the opportunity to be here if it wasn’t for MI.”

Carlos: “I would like to thank MI for the opportunity of opening this door and letting me accomplish one of my dreams of classroom teaching experience.  Also, I would like to thank my supervisor Program Director Ramiro Segovia and all the staff of LACER for taking me in and showing me how to become a successful instructor.”


The LACER Afterschool Program provides free expanded learning workshops to 4,000 middle and high school students in Los Angeles while preparing students for their future.

The Musicians Foundation supports LACER as a member of the Friends of LACER Multi-Year Giving Circle (donating annually 2017- 2021), as well as having donated music DAW software in 2014, and providing funds for music scholarships to Musicians Institute in 2012 and 2018.


Please visit: and find LACERstars on Twitter and Facebook.


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