A group of music students who attend Los Angeles' Foshay Learning Center got a very special surprise last week when Eddie Van Halen paid them a visit at their school. The guitar legend spent time chatting with the 27 aspiring musicians, encouraging them and sharing anecdotes about his own pursuit of a career in music.
"I wasn't born 'Eddie Van Halen,' successful or famous," the rock star said. "It took years of dedication and practice, practice, practice."
In conjunction with Van Halen's visit, he and the Fender Musical Instruments Company donated one of his EVH signature guitar amplifiers to the class. Eddie also gave each student a gift bag that included EVH guitar picks, strings, straps and cables, as well as a key chain bearing his trademark Frankenstein guitar design.
"The gift of music is yours, no one can take that away no matter what," Van Halen told the class. "It is not a rich/poor thing nor does it discriminate. If you have a love or even a like for music, go after it, pursue it. Music helps lift your self-esteem, it gave me an identity, kept me out of trouble, gave me goals and the desire to improve. It gave me a life."
Eddie decided to visit the Foshay Learning Center after meeting the school's musical director, Vince Womack , a few weeks back at a fundraiser for the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation.
Womack told the guitar virtuoso during his appearance, "I am so grateful to you for fueling and inspiring us and raising the ceiling of possibilities for the kids. We will never forget today."
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio