WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE, TX (KTRK) -- As a war refugee, Zeljko Pavlovic knows what it's like to be afraid.
"We didn't have electricity, water, or food for a long time and they were bombing us, but the only thing that we had, we had hope and we had music," said the award-winning violinist. "We were playing our instruments and in that point in time, nothing mattered."
After Zeljko and his family escaped Bosnia and moved to the United States in 1998, he began performing on the world's biggest stages.
Now, as the owner of Vivaldi Music Academy, which he calls the world's largest music academy, Zeljko is giving back to his community with free virtual classes for anybody interested.
"I want the kids to forget about everything that's going on for that hour," he explained. "Hopefully, ignite that spark in them that love for music that can potentially last a lifetime."
450 families have been logging on every day to escape negative news and self isolation.
"Even sometimes after I get out of the shower, when life is hard, I just come here and play some music," explained 13 year old student Alex Macial.
Now, Zeljko is going even further, offering free instruments to students in need.
Take it from a refugee: it's our hardships,and how we react to them, that define us far more than our successes.
"I really have to pinch myself every once in a while," he said. "We're so busy and caught up in the daily lives, but I do take time to reflect and be grateful."
For more information on free instruments, go to the academy's Facebook page:
Local music school offers free instruments and virtual classes