Music Dive: Dr. Ensberg


Michael Grijalva

Dr. Ensberg at his desk.

Nael Alzalde

Music plays a big role in our everyday lives, whether it’s the music we hear on the radio, the music we choose to listen to for whatever mood, or even playing an instrument, music is omnipresent. Music is something that most people hold dear to them and just like every human being, everyone is unique in their selection of music, or bond they have had with music growing up. Personally, it’s a joy for me to discover the bond that someone holds with music alongside what genre is near and dear to them. In this interview I got to interview a very special teacher and take a deeper dive into what music means to them, having assisted the Preuss community since 2000, Dr. Philip Ensberg.

For a little bit of background, Dr. Ensberg has been a teacher for English since the 2nd year of Preuss being founded, back during the year 2000. Eventually Dr. Ensberg grew into the overseer of Yearbook and became an advisory teacher to multiple classes. Teaching many young adolescents about the importance, creativity, and wonders of literature throughout the years, we’ve come to know him as an exceptional English teacher. However, Dr. Ensberg has always had a passion for music. Stating that for him, “Music provides entertainment and a way to de-stress. It is an escape and a way to connect with others.” 

Dr. Ensberg’s first experience with playing music came in the form of borrowing his college roommate’s guitar and teaching himself how to play when his roommate was not using it.  In a follow up question Dr. Ensberg mentions getting further motivation from, “My brother played guitar, and I enjoyed listening to his guitar. There were songs that I wanted to play. I also wanted to write music and I needed an instrument for that.” (Ensberg) Allowing him to really pursue this musical journey of not just listening but writing and playing music himself. 

With such a vast journey with music, both through playing it and listening to it Dr. Ensberg has had a lot of memorable experiences, songs, and artists that have helped him throughout life. Memorable experiences where he has sung for his 2019 graduating advisory class, his brother’s wedding, and his brother-in-laws’ wedding. Learning to pick up not just guitar but piano alongside his journey and has said “I mostly play chords, and I don’t generally read music. I just play well enough to play along while I sing.” Asking Dr. Ensberg what some of his favorite artists and genres are, he replied with, “I have always enjoyed folk rock, especially singer/songwriters from the 70s, like Cat Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel, and James Taylor. But I like almost any kind of music if it is well done.” Also mentioning that his favorite song changes depending on his mood.

Thinking more deeply about music Dr. Ensberg says, “I have thought about playing as a living. However, for me, music is just a hobby. For one thing, I don’t want to travel around all the time. I like relaxing at home after work.” Having a complexity where, “I wish I had more time to pursue my music. I always want to get better and write more songs, but I never have enough time.” (Ensberg) Lastly, if he wasn’t an English teacher he stated he would,“Probably [be an] editor or a writer. I have always been interested in the arts. Maybe illustration with  a little music on the side now and then. 

If you ever happen to have a guitar on you, perhaps you can lend it to Dr. Ensberg for a quick show in E203.