Music Teacher Laura Tovar stands outside the Music Machine, a traveling classroom, that she drives to different schools in the Rowland Unified School District. (Amanda Baumfeld)
ROWLAND HEIGHTS - Laura Tovar doesn't go anywhere without her music stands, instruments and teaching materials.

That's because the music teacher drives the Music Machine, a bus converted into a mobile music classroom.

The bus travels to eight different school sites in the Rowland Unified School District where Tovar teaches.

The spunky teacher inspires students to have an ear for melodies.

"The kids are so great," Tovar said. "If you listen to them play now it doesn't sound like much. They don't know how to read notes, but by Christmastime you see a huge growth. I love seeing that change."

The music lover calls herself a "hippie" and tells her students that music brings people together.

She loves relaying the history and meaning of music to her students.

"Music doesn't happen in a vacuum," Tovar said. "History brings music alive."

Tovar, working with the district for 23 years, also spearheads the Summer Arts Academy where students learn music, art, drama, photography and dance.

She is also involved in the Summer Theatre Program.

She encourages her mini-musicians to use their talents to entertain others at community events, such as benefits or open houses.

"It's important to have something to give back," Tovar said. "We give back as much as we can."