COLORADO SPRINGS — Since he was three years old, 17-year-old Leon Baker has loved the violin.

And all that practice earned him a spot with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony.

“It takes a very dedicated student in order to achieve the level necessary to make into the Youth Symphony’s top ensemble. They have to practice practically every day, take private lessons,” said Keven Stewart, executive director of the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association.

Baker spends 30 hours a week practicing the violin.

“I would be up till 12, 1:00 in the morning trying to finish homework and do all my practicing at the same time,” said Baker.

Now a junior in high school and taking AP classes, Baker decided to sign up for online classes through Colorado Connections Academy.

He says it will give him a more flexible schedule while pursuing the musical side of his future.

“I get to shift my work around a lot throughout the week, so I don’t have to do every subject every day. So, if I have Youth Symphony one night and I want to do less work and prepare more for what we’re going to do in rehearsal, I’m able to do that,” Baker said.

This summer, Baker will be one of 74 musicians with the Youth Symphony touring through Europe for three weeks.

They will play in Greece and Bulgaria.

“Musicians work for many, many years. Private study, lots and lots of practice just to get the opportunity to be able to participate in our top group and have a chance to go on a tour like this,” Stewart said.

Baker says music will always be in his future.

“I really want to do a dual degree with a major in violin performance with a minor, or I might do a double major in business and music technology,” Baker said.