Leuenberger Uses Music to Express His Talents


Alec Lechner, Contributing Reporter

In an ordinary looking house in the Linn-Mar school district, there is a basement with an unusual room. His group of friends call it “the stu,” short for studio. Two guitars hang from the walls, while two others sit on stands on the floor, with three others in cases behind amps lined up on the far wall. Deer antlers and Jason Aldean CDs are piled on a shelf across from the standing microphone, used to record songs.

Jacob Leuenberger is a unique student at Linn-Mar, although you might not be able to tell by looking at him. He wears blue jeans and a nice shirt most days. He’s not in band or orchestra, but he is a talented musician. You might ask him why he isn’t in school bands.

“It’s not my kind of music. I don’t want to play symphony number five in e minor,” he jokes.

Jacob likes to do things his own way. It’s not that he doesn’t like the school programs; it’s just that he likes to be free to express himself. He learned to play guitar by ear, listening to Jerry Reed records. Yes, actual records. He has an impressive vinyl collection complete with Johnny Cash, Jim Croce, and Jerry Reed, just to name a few. He sat for hours teaching himself to play fingerstyle like one of the most influential country guitarists of all time.

After four years, you can tell it has paid off. He takes guitar lessons from older and more experienced guitarists.

“It’s funny when I can outplay them,” he says, referencing his unique talent for his fingerstyle playing.

Jacob also knows how to play piano. He taught himself, of course. So why did he deviate from playing saxophone, which he started in his earlier days? He says he just didn’t like the structure.

“Anyone can play music as long as it sounds right.”

He says he does have one regret about not joining the school music programs.

“I would love to play the violin.”

Jacob looks like a normal student at Linn mar, but if you give him one of his seven guitars, he will quickly show you that he is different. He is talented and hardworking, but most of all he is humble. He plays music because it’s what he likes to do, and that’s it.

“Music is one of the most powerful things on earth. It makes the soul laugh and it makes the soul cry, nothing else can do that,” he says.

Favorite things

Playing guitars at the Guitar Center

Putting new strings on an acoustic guitar

Playing blues licks on piano

Buying new guitars