Class of 2012: Grad planning future as educator

Not much can come between 22-year-old Alisha Grinsteinner and her electric bass.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Eastern New Mexico University graduating senior Alisha Grinsteinner edits audio Saturday afternoon in the computer lab of the music building. Grinsteinner is excited that graduation is less than a week away and is happy to see all of her efforts, including putting in weekend hours, will finally pay off.

Grinsteinner has always had an interest in music but when she was turned off to the guitar six years ago, someone suggested she try the bass. Grinsteinner fell in love.

She plays many genres but her favorite is jazz.

That love for bass brought the Levelland, Texas, native to Eastern New Mexico University, where she will be graduating Saturday.

Grinsteinner came to ENMU as a transfer student two years ago and didn't waste time. In the two years she's been at ENMU, her professors and mentors say she has demonstrated an immense amount of growth in her playing skills and as a person.

Musician and ENMU professor Travis Erwin is impressed with Grinsteinner's progress and says he is proud to be her bass instructor.

"She is one of those students that has focus and direction," Erwin said. "She takes care of business and I'm happy to see she's moving forward."

Last semester, Erwin asked Grinsteinner if she was interested in teaching music and Grinsteinner's future plans are now leaning in that direction.

This summer, she applied to teach English in South Korea.

"I like to travel and it gives me an opportunity to pay back my student loans before I attend grad school," Grinsteinner said.

She is graduating with her bachelor of science in music and plans to get her master's degree in arts administration.

Even after graduate school, Grinsteinner wants to use her music skills to teach. She says the lack of music programs in this area and in public schools inspires her to work with non-profit organizations that teach music after school.

"Music really helps kids do better in all subjects because it's a creative and challenging study," Grinsteinner said. "It's sad because there's a drug problem here, and kids don't have outlets."

Grinsteinner is thankful her parents always supported her pursuits in the arts. Her parents put her in piano lessons when she was 8, and have stayed involved in her music activities since her childhood.

"They come to every performance they can," Grinsteinner said.

Grinsteinner's father, Tommy, jokes he's bursting at the seams with pride for his daughter.

"She has always worked hard at everything she does, but her bass, man, she can play," said Grinsteinner's father. "I think she's amazed her instructors at how good she's got with it."

Tommy says he's supportive of all of his children in doing whatever makes them happy.

He says his daughter is a hard worker and he expects her to stay with music in the long-run.

He tries not to brag too much about his daughter, but he says her senior project last month was incredible and Erwin agreed.

Grinsteinner planned out the entire semester to work on her project, which focused on the development and the evolution of the electric bass.

Erwin worked with Grinsteinner on five pieces she played in addition to her presentation.

Grinsteinner said her senior project was her best experience in school because it pushed her and she got to see her hard work come to fruition.

Grinsteinner will continue to push herself as she plans to travel with her bass and her love for music.

"It's really important that you open yourself up to new experiences," Grinsteinner said.

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