At Caddo Magnet High School in Shreveport, LA, recent graduate Nick Tingle was commonly known as “Little Kenny” – an homage to the school’s most notable alumnus, rock star Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

“In Shreveport, he’s an icon,” said Tingle of his blues guitar role model, with whom he had the opportunity to share the stage at the annual Shreveport Artbreak music festival.

Looking alike and rocking to similar genres of music, Tingle and Shepherd have similar musical beginnings.

Shepherd taught himself to play at the age of seven, about six months after meeting Stevie Ray Vaughan at one of his father’s [radio] promoted concerts and is said to have really found his groove when he was invited onstage by New Orleans blues legend, Bryan Lee, at the age of thirteen.

Tingle first discovered the guitar in a sixth grade elective class at the Herndon Magnet School. He continued with the school’s limited curriculum until eighth grade, when his teacher Toby Quarles brought Little Kids Rock to Herndon Magnet where the program “took off and everybody loved it.”

During his learning process, Tingle remembers writing songs for Little Kids Rock, which lead him to winning a guitar for his outstanding composition.

Honing his music and teaching knowledge, Tingle learned that Little Kids Rock’s program works fast and it helps teach kids to rock out to songs and genres they love.

“If you’re going to take a kid who likes rock music and try to teach him classical music, it’s not going to mean anything to them because it’s not something they like,” says the young rock star who enjoys playing both rock and blues styles.

After exploring his passion for guitar with Little Kids Rock and on his own, Tingle began applying the same methods to the private lessons he now offers to beginner students. The students benefit because “right at the start, they can go home and play the songs themselves.” He has even given guest seminars to his former elementary school teacher Diane Woodward’s LKR students.

Speaking from his own experience, Tingle believes the key to success is “practice, practice, practice, because you’ve got to experiment on your own and take it upon yourself to broaden your musical horizons,” which he did by learning theory notation and other styles of music.

Using the guitar as his outlet, Tingle believes that music has taught him more than just melodies – it has both helped him deal with stress and kept him out of trouble.

“Without the opportunity to learn guitar, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today,” he says. “Music is my passion, it’s what I am going to major in at college, and it’s what I want my career to be in.”

In the fall of 2011, Tingle will enroll at Centenary College of Louisiana as a freshman, where he will focus in music production. He’s interested in recording, producing and engineering music – yet another step in his musical journey.

“I want to be a producer, but the ultimate goal is to tour the world and play music as a professional,” says the LKR alumnus. “The dream is to be a rock star and if that happens, I’d take that any day, but as long as I have music in my life, I’ll be happy.”

For more videos of Nick Tingle’s music, check out his YouTube Channel.

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