Saturday, October 30, 2010


One part of musical groups that I really admire is their versatility. From my last blog, it should be known that that is one of the main reasons that I admire Chanticleer so much. There are also more popular bands that I admire for that reason as well though. Two main groups that are versatile are Incubus and Thrice. Now many people really dislike when bands write an album that is different from their last. They either love their old work and can't get used to their new music, or like their new music and think their old music is junk. I try to be open to both. I think it's great when bands mature as individuals and as musicians and create new sounds. Incubus started out as somewhat of a funk metal band and now they are considered alternative. Thrice started out as a post hardcore group and now they are somewhat experimental. One of the great things about Incubus is that they have written all styles of music in between their first songs to now. Some of their songs include jazz, funk, rock, hip hop, and experimental styles. One of the music works that I praise Thrice for most is called The Alchemy Index. It is a large album that includes 6 songs that represent each element: earth, air, fire, and water. This album was well written and well put together and it is easily apparent which songs represent which element. It is versatility like that this that inspire me to push myself and not put limits on what I strive for musically. If you like an artist, do a little research and see how they started out or find some of their earliest songs. You may be surprised as to what you find.
Happy Listening

My favorite example!

As a continuation of my last blog, I will now give my favorite example of an ensemble who demonstrates correct singing very well. They are called Chanticleer. They are an all male professional ensemble and one of the only full time professional classical vocal ensembles in the United States. Now I may be biased when it comes to saying that they are the best, because they were one of the first ensembles I heard about when I started singing. That being said, they are the best! They sing the full range, meaning bass to soprano, with some of their singers being countertenors, or men who sing in the female range. Some of my favorite works by them include Ave MariaAgnus Dei, and Summertime. I think to me, what makes them so great is their ability to make such a unified sound and their versatility. They are known for their renaissance music, but can just as easily perform contemporary, jazz music, or anything style possible. There are so many talented singers in the performing world, but their keen ability to listen and adapt to one another is superb. My high school choir had the privilege of performing with them last year at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco and I have watched them at Walt Disney Concert Hall. It is my biggest goals to be part of the ensemble at some point. I plan to audition for the group in ten years. If anyone is looking for a solid vocal ensemble, this is the group I would recommend.
Happy Listening

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Being that I am a vocal performance major, I think it is time that I write a blog or two about singing. In this blog, I will explain a little of the basics involved in singing and give some examples of artists that I look up to in my field. So, to start off, there are four main vocal classifications. These are bass and tenor for men, and alto and soprano for women. These four classifications can be broken down further into categories like baritone, bass 1 or 2, tenor 1 or 2, mezzo-soprano, coloratura soprano, counter tenor, and many more. These ranges give people an idea of how high or low that singer can sing comfortably and what notes sound best for them. I am a tenor, but voices can changes so I may be a different classification in a few years. For someone to produce sound, air moves through their vocal cords, which lie in the larynx at the top of the trachea and vibrate with air. The air then bounces off parts such as the skull and nasal bones to become amplified. This air comes from inhalation into the lungs. Breathing is a very important part of singing and has to be constantly worked on to train muscles such as the intercostal muscles which lie between the ribs. These muscles help to allow the diaphram to give the right amount of air needed for what is being sung. Putting all of this together with the relaxation of most of the rest of the body is what allows one to sing. In the next blog, I will give examples of performers who do all of this well. To be continued...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Learn a New Instrument

One of the most fun acts that I can think of is learning a new instrument. I grew up around instruments because my father is a musician, but I think I would have been drawn to music regardless. Whether someone is young or old, he/she can always learn an instrument. At first it is usually difficult to do much of anything on a new instrument such as playing a full chord on guitar or playing a consistent pitch on trumpet, but slowly, that changes. One part of it that I have found very important is reading music. I have always heard that it is good to do, but there are many ways of getting around it such reading tabs for guitar. The good thing about reading music though is that it is a universal language. You have to keep up with it to maintain it, but it is the same around the world. I see reading music on each instrument as a different dialect of that language. Learning a new instrument is also good for you. This link discusses many of the benefits of learning an instrument, but some include keeping the mind alert, stress relief, and improving memory. So if you've ever had an itch to try out guitar, piano, saxophone, cello, or any other instrument, turn the television off and give it a shot. It's fun and good for you!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More New Music!

Ok so my last few posts have all been about discovering new music and this one will follow suit. I know that many people like certain styles of music but I've found that it's mostly because they do not open up to new music. I'm not asking you to like all music, but I'm just hoping you give it a shot. Some of these artists, you may already know, but for the one's you don't, give them a listen. I used to be in a Ska band and it was tons of fun. It's not the most sophisticated music, but will get your mood up and will keep the good times rolling. Imagine fast reggae mixed with punk. Some popular ska bands include Reel Big FishStreetlight Manifesto, and The Supervillians. Some new school reggae includes RebelutionIration, and Tomorrow's Bad Seeds. This new school reggae is a little more pop and rock than the older stuff, but it will still get you chilling and makes for some good beach music. Lastly, I will give out some bands that are what I like to call pop-folk. A lot of it is sad, but sometimes that's just was I need. It's pretty bare music being that it usually relies mostly on acoustic guitar, piano, and vocals. Some artists include my girlfriend's personal favorite, Ingrid MichaelsonWillaim Fitzsimmons, and City and Colour. Well I hope this gives you something new to listen to.
Happy Listening

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Different Types of Musical Works 1

To me, what really makes or breaks a movie is the music. I have seen a lot of movies that are complete junk, but there is a great score and the movie is labeled as "good". I have also seen many good movies with horrible scores, and the movie is never praised for the work that it is. So many times, I find that people get too into one type of music or one type of album. It's a shame because there is so much out there. In terms of albums, there are first of all different kinds of albums. Movie soundtracks may be compilations of songs from different albums used in a certain movie or could be an album written for that specific movie. These are a good way to get a good playlist and to hear new artists. There are also the soundtracks from musical theater productions. For other types of movies, there are  musical scores. One famous composer for many popular movies is named John Williams. If you go to the link, you will find many movies that you have watched and realize that you have heard a lot of his work without even realizing it. You may find that you love or hate his work, but either way, at least you have opened up to something new.
-Emilio Tello

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to find new music! 2

Alright, so now that I've gotten all the old fashion ways of finding music out of the way, it's time to discuss some ways more suited to today's age. There is so much music on the internet, from signed bands with professionally produced albums to people making beats on their computers at home. Some ways to find new artists or find a certain song that you are looking for are myspacepurevolumemusic.comyahoo, and my favorite: PANDORA. If you don't already know about pandora or how to use it, I would highly recommend it. It's a website that let's you create your own radio station. You choose a song, artist, or album that you like and pandora builds a station with similar songs. It is a little more advanced than a normal radio with features such as being able to give songs a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" so it can better customize the station to what you like, and being able to pause and skip to the next song. It is far better than most other radios, as there is no limit to what style of music you hear. From there, you can search for the music you like on Limewire, or for a way safer for your computer and a way that gives artists credit for their work, I prefer itunes. Even just on itunes, you are able to see lists of music such as the most downloaded songs or albums of the day. Well I hope this helps people find some of the great work being done out there.
Happy Listening!