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Meet the future of music education

Annabella Mireles
Senior percussionist Eric Esquivel prepares to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in music education.

As the 2022 fall convocation nears, many seniors might back on what made them choose the path they are currently on, how they got there, or what could have changed had things not gone their way. The same goes for graduating music education senior, Eric Esquivel, who not only faced the pandemic during his time at UTEP, but other personal hurdles that can make something you are passionate about seem almost unfeasible.  

In early fall of 2019, Esquivel suffered a hand injury that made playing any instrument he enjoyed, such as the snare drum, marimba or drum set, feel impossible without any kind of pain.   

“I wasn’t having fun playing my instrument. I gradually entered into a distressed mental state,” Esquivel said. “I almost reached my breaking point of possibly reconsidering my major altogether, as I thought my career could be over.”  

Now three years later and on the brink of walking the Don Haskins stage, Esquivel has healed but still believes he has not 100 percent recovered. After dealing with his personal injury, Esquivel, like many others, was forced to deal COVID-19. The pandemic, which took a lot from many, seemed like the worst thing to happen within millions of households. But for Esquivel, it was the start of perfecting his craft and his new techniques.  

“I took advantage of this time to truly maximize my education in the UTEP Music Department. I realized the detriment of education online early on, and that the experiences would not be the same had they been at the institution,” Esquivel said. “I made it my mission to take in (every) bit of information that my professors gave me. This positive viewpoint of the pandemic made my musical experiences worthwhile.”  

Not only did he use time to become a better percussionist, but also used it to prepare himself to be the teacher he hopes to be.  

“Band teachers from over the years (like) Ms. Janet Lynch, Ms. Salina Cobos, Mr. Ron Pingor, Mr. Daniel Hunt, and Mr. Matt Fernandez,” Esquivel said. “(Have all) played a significant role in my choice to study music education.”   

Finishing his studies in music education meant preparing himself to become a leader and inspiration among other young minds like he once was. It is those teachers throughout his years in school who would be key inspirations for what Esquivel hopes to be.  

“My plan is to inspire young musicians just how Ms. Janet Lynch and Ms. Cobos did when I was ten years old,” Esquivel said. “These two educators were the ones that planted the seed for (me) one day becoming a music educator.”  

More recently, a collegiate inspiration would be UTEP professor, Andy Smith, Ph.D., who has also held a role in shaping the person Esquivel is today.  

“A dedicated mentor, pedagogue, musician, and performer, Dr. Smith is taking the percussion program at UTEP to new heights, and I am glad I was under his tutelage,” Esquivel said. “Dr. Smith has taught me to be a total percussionist and shown me the true characteristics of professionalism, communication, networking and wit.”   

Luckily for Esquivel, those inspirations have allowed him to secure his first step after graduation, accepting his first job offer as the Assistant Band and Percussion Director at Don Haskins K-8. Alongside the countless teachers guiding him, family and close friends have also played a close role in his success.   

“I would like to first thank my family for supporting me in my higher education endeavors,” Esquivel said. “(I would also like to) thank the many friends that I have met along my journey, for they have been important in my growth and perseverance through my degree.”   

Every student has their own hurdles to overcome, this is one story reminding students that things can get tough and will not always be easy. However, it highlights how taking the smallest things as “wins” leads to a future of success.  

“Study hard and celebrate each ‘win’ you get,” Esquivel said. “A ‘win’ can be just as simple as getting through a chapter in a textbook and being proud of that.”  

Itzel Giron is the multimedia editor and can be reached at [email protected]; @by.itzel.giron on Instagram; @itzel_anahi_16 on Twitter.  

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About the Contributors
Itzel Giron
Itzel Giron, Editor-in-chief
Itzel Giron is a senior multimedia journalism and creative writing student at UTEP. She started her journalistic career at The Prospector in the fall of 2021 as a staff reporter and is now editor-in-chief. Thanks to The Prospector and her tenacity, Itzel has had the opportunity to be an intern with KVIA Channel 7 at El Paso. Itzel is also a freelance journalist, and her work has been published in The City Magazine, Borderzine and Walsworth Yearbooks. After graduation, Itzel hopes to continue her passion of journalism by working in broadcast television reporting on politics, entertainment and news.
Annabella Mireles
Annabella Mireles, Photo Editor
Annabella Mireles is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production and minoring in film. She is the photo editor at the Prospector newspaper and Minero magazine as well as owning her own photography business. She plans on pursuing photography full time.
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Meet the future of music education