How to Learn Tejano Music

By Michael Monet ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Tejano music
  • Instrument
Tejano music is popular with Mexican-Americans.

Tejano music is associated with the Mexican-American populations of Texas. When you trace Tejano music back to its origins, you find that this music style is a blend of Spanish, Mexican-American and German cultures. To learn Tejano music, identify and listen to the three different types: modern, conjunto and orchestra. Study the instruments, rhythms and arrangements used in traditional and modern Tejano songs.

Listen to orchestra Tejano music. Popular artists of this style include Ruben Ramos and Ruben Perez. Orchestra Tejano music showcases the German influence having folk influences that inspire dances, such as the polka and the waltz.

Listen to conjunto Tejano music. Popular artists of this style include Esteban Jordan. The traditional arrangement of conjunto music involves an accordion, a 12-string bass guitar, a bass and drums. If you want to reproduce this type of music, you’ll need training in one or more of these instruments.

Listen to modern Tejano music. The most popular modern Tejano artist was Selena before her murder in 1995.

Compare the three styles of Tejano music. Compare the ballads to the more upbeat songs. Understand the rhythms and arrangements by viewing videos that show which dances are traditionally danced to each style. Learn to count out the rhythms of the music.

Learn an instrument popular in Tejano music. If you enjoy the orchestra or conjunto styles, learn the accordion, guitar or drums. If you enjoy more modern music, you can learn any of the traditional instruments and focus on learning how to use modern music recording and editing equipment.

Play along with your favorite songs. Learn the basic notes and chords that are repeated in popular Tejano music. Play the simplest rhythms and explore stylization and improvisation when you become comfortable with the basics.

Arrange a Tejano band. Ask musician friends or put an ad out for beginning musicians interested in playing Tejano music. Reproduce popular songs and begin to write your own simple songs in the Tejano tradition.

Attend Tejano music concerts for inspiration. Keep up with how this genre is changing and evolving, and how modern Tejano artists are maintaining ties to the past.

Tip

Gain as much exposure as possible to this genre of music. The more you listen, play and watch Tejano artists, the better-accustomed you'll become to the style.

About the Author

Michael Monet has been writing professionally since 2006. At the San Francisco School of the Arts, he studied under writers Octavio Solis and Michelle Tea, performed his work in Bay Area theaters and was published in literary journals such as "Paradox," "Umlaut" and "Transfer." Monet also studied creative writing at Eugene Lang College in New York and Mills College in Oakland.