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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 13.11
Februrary 2011

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Ivan Nossa, Cyrus Rhodes & Don Sechelski
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Anastasia Karalekas
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought to you by singer/songwriter & teacher, Irene Jackson.
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: World Class Champion Title Holder - by Brad Dunse
* On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your viewing pleasure.
* Classifieds & Useful Services
* Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2011 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.


All sorts of products and services especially for songwriters, negotiated so that you get the best price possible. You'll find means of promotion and distribution, songwriting aids, educational products, musical instruments and their accessories, and lots more. Any of these items would make a fantastic present for a songwriter in your life (even if it's you! :-) ) Check it out!

Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)

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Editor's Musings:

Here we are in the midst of the new year ... Have you begun remembering to put 2011 on your checks yet? ;-) Writing (or typing) the date at the start of the year is always a big thing for me. I think this new year will be better than ever though - and I hope you'll find it hugely productive on your end too!

Lots of great stuff for you in this issue - including a new feature called "Quick Tips" by Brad Dunse. The first part of his first Quick Tip should give you quite a lot of food for thought. As per usual, there are some great recommendations from Irene in her Muse's Clues section - and a very helpful review of a book you could find immensely useful by Anastasia. Plus, there's updates of all the latest songwriting contests you can enter and market information that might help you out. And there's also a list of new articles on the website since the last time you heard from me. So lots to read and hopefully enjoy! :-)

Below are the raffle winners for this month:

  • Allen Cook from Snellville, GA, has won a beautiful (and highly useful!) notebook from The Jotted Line.
  • Peter Jockel, from Pointe Claire, Quebec Canada, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Matt Blick, from Nottingham, UK, has won a free 3 month membership to SongU, an Internet-based learning environment providing online coaching, co-writing and pitching opportunities, in addition to over 70 multi-level courses developed by award-winning songwriters.
  • Dan Barkley from Ottawa, ON Canada, has won a 6 month membership to GMC has tons of helpful videos, instructors and lessons along with a forum for chatting with teachers and students 24/7, recording collaborations, attending video chats, & content for bass, drums, singing, piano, etc.
  • Glen MacNeil from Tecumseh, ON Canada, has won a copy of Pearls of Love: How to Write Love Letters and Love Poems - review in the September 2010 issue of this newsletter. Click here to read that review.
  • Dale Matthies from Goderich, ON Canada, has won a copy of The Singer Songwriter Toolbox reviewed in our October issue. Click here to read that review.
  • Michael Airton, from Darlington, Co. Durham in the UK, has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.

If you'd like to be considered for a raffle prize yourself, have a look at the various prizes offered at the top of The Muse's News webpage, decide which prizes you'd most like, and email me with your top two choices along with your mailing address so that I can get the prizes to you. Yes, it's really that simple. :) (And yes, the mailing address is kinda important. I promise it won't be used for any other reason than to send you your raffle prize - and to mention your approximate location in the notice of raffle winners you see above here.)

Incidentally, for those of you at all interested in hearing about my latest voice over news, just after Christmas, I did my first national (American) TV spot! Quite the thrill - and I'm hoping for more in the new year. We'll see. At the very least though, it shows me that I can compete in the extremely competitive field - and on the world stage. So I'm feeling pretty good about things. :-) If any of you happen to have a need for a voice, feel free to drop by my voice over website and have a listen to some demos. We'll talk. :-)

Thanks for subscribing, folks! I wish you every inspiration and success.

All the best,


Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)

(And Muse's News readers *still* get a special discount!)

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In addition to giving you Rhymes, Close Rhymes, Phrases, Pop-Culture, Synonyms, and the Definition, new features include Word Families and Parts Of Speech, two unique and revolutionary reference dictionaries that will open up a new world of possibilities for descriptive words and ideas. There have been updates and improvements to the existing features, including greatly expanded Sound-Alikes (close rhymes), and a completely redesigned Interface. These are serious tools for the serious songwriter.

MasterWriter's NEW price is now only $199 - but you'll still get a *$20* discount (your price is just $179!) by ordering through The Muse's Muse! Take the Tour, Download a Free Trial, and get a $20 discount! Note that the auto-inserted discount number 3004 will apply the $20 discount when ordering online. Windows and Mac compatible.

Music Reviews: By: Ivan Nossa, Cyrus Rhodes & Don Sechelski


Ivan Nossa:

* Cheryl Fare
* Reverand Freakchild
* Matthew Genovese
* Sharon Musgrave

* Onward, Soldiers

Cyrus Rhodes:

* Gypsy Johns
* Soup
* Levity's Law
* Bumblefoot
* Donna Greenberg

* Niktex
* Ellen Tipper
* Evestus

Don Sechelski:

* The Banana Plant
* Intown Band
* Bella Ruse

Click here for bios on each of the reviewers. If you're considering sending in your own CD for review, you can also view that page to find out which reviewer reviews your genre. Thanks!

Artist Spotlights:

Great music is only a click away!
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
in the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.


Priscilla Hernández - Genre: NEW AGE

Priscilla is a singer/songwriter and illustrator from the canary Islands, Spain. From ethereal haunting gothic sounds and dark lyrics to celtic pop and new age landscapes, discover the spellbinding side of fairytales with her bitter lullabies.


Allister Bradley - Genre: SINGER/SONGWRITER

A collection of stories from inside the soul of a Canadian singer/songwriter/pianist, delivering on the promise of heartfelt emotion, social commentary, and a shy sense of humour, lifted by melodies that stick in your head and satisfy like warm soup on a cold day…

Songwriting Book Review By: Anastasia Karalekas

The Songwriter’s Survival Guide to Success: How to Pitch Your Songs
by Dude McLean

“It’s your career.”

So says Dude McLean in his book “The Songwriter’s Survival Guide to Success: How to Pitch Your Songs”. It’s a Who, What, Where, When and How to pitch your songs and get your career off the ground. This book is packed with information from a pro on how to deal with the pros.

Divided into three sections, the first section is a very quick read on your songs. But it doesn’t spend much time here. The crux of this book is how to get those songs of yours recorded. In section two, you’ll find everything from how to write a good song, to pitching it, to who to make friends with (and why), how to file your notes, organize your files and contacts, what to do with them and how long to keep them. And you’ll see that anything can happen – it can go from good to bad, but it can also go from bad to great! Check your attitude, and if it needs an adjustment, listen to McLean. He’s tested every piece of advice he gives. Know how to handle every scenario that comes your way. Learn how to deal with and/or recover from downfalls, and how to handle it all without ever losing confidence in yourself.

One of the most interesting parts of this book is being able to distinguish which of your songs will get you noticed. When I write a song, I write it with the intention, or hope, that it's going to be a hit. I imagine we all write with that intention. But in your entire catalogue, as you set out to pitch your songs, you’ll learn to recognize what songs to pitch first in order to get you the contract. (This doesn’t mean you won’t get to pitch others… but learn how to grab, and keep, someone’s ear first.)

Section 3 covers elements like the legal-ese, alternative ways to make money, seminars, co-writing, but not in too much detail. McLean even encourages us to go find more information about these topics elsewhere (see his Recommended Reading list for some titles), and doesn’t give out any information on anything he doesn’t know much about, but rather suggests other avenues. And strongly suggests that you do your homework, too.

After all, it’s your career.



Anastasia Karalekas is a self-taught guitarist and music absorber.  When she is not learning, learning, learning, she spends her time writing fiction and poetry. After taking some private guitar lessons, her teacher encouraged her  to try putting some of her poems to music, and she's been writing songs ever since.

If you'd like *your* book reviewed (as long as it has something to do with songwriting, of course!), please do email us and let us know!

Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)


It's the "secret weapon" used by some of the winners of the world's most prestigious vocal awards, including the Doves, the CMA Awards, and yes, the Grammies.

Learn the one mistake even professional singers make, that drains away 3 times more vocal energy and yields only half the needed vocal power. Find out about the 3 simple exercises that allow even a "beginner" to make rapid increases in range (this also eliminates vocal strain). Learn Brett's secret for "dissolving" your break, so you'll never have to flip into falsetto again, but you'll still sing as high as you want--in full voice - and LOTS more.

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Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Info.

In the interest of conserving space, I will be including only changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests and market information that have already been listed here, are displayed at &
Please check there regularly for updates!


Entries for the 2011 Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival Singer/Songwriter Contests are now being accepted. Ten finalists compete at the festival on May 21, 2011 in Richardson, Texas for three $500 awards. Entries must be received or postmarked by March 9, 2011. Entry fees are $20 per entry. Visit the Wildflower! Website or the SonicBids Wildflower! site to enter and for more information.


Amateur songwriters worldwide are invited to compete in the 2011 Dallas Songwriters Association Song Contest. Eight song categories will be judged by established music industry professionals and will offer almost $5,000 in prizes to the top winners. Entries must be received or postmarked by March 31. Entry fees are $20 per song. Grand Prize takes home a Tradition electric guitar, gets a demo by Beaird Music Group and an on-line membership with Broadjam. Runner up gets a day of free recording at Enchanted Rock Audio in Central Texas, in addition to a one-year Broadjam membership. Third Place receives a song demo/consultation with Kim Copeland of Nashville’s Kim Copeland Productions and a Broadjam membership. All first place category winners win $100 and a one-year Broadjam membership. . Visit for more information

FREE CONTEST FOR ALL MUSICIANS: WIN $500 ON TUBECONTEST.COM is searching for talented musicians. Upload your music to, attain the most monthly votes from friends, family, and fans, and win $500 in our 100% FREE monthly contests. Anybody can win. Somebody will win our money every month!

The January Music Contest is: "Create a Valentine's Day Song" = Create a song/music video about anything Valentine's Day. See the intro video and contest details here: join.TC/​music

Deadline: January 31st, 2011 ~ 100% FREE. ALWAYS WILL BE. ~ YOU OWN ALL RIGHTS TO ANYTHING UPLOADED. ~


16th Annual USA Songwriting Competition is now accepting entries. Winning songs will receive radio airplay in United States and Canada along with great prizes such as a Top Prize of over $50,000. Past winners include Alannah Myles, Ken Hirsch, Ari Gold, The Waifs, etc. First 1,000 entries will each receive a double bonus to Recording magazine and Premier Guitar magazine. 

Submission deadline: May 31.


Stars Uncharted is a new website that was created in order to feature the best music out there and encourage originality, creativity, imagination and authenticity. If you know a great solo artist / songwriter / band or want your music featured, Stars Uncharted offers prizes to whoever helps it feature extraordinary music. At the moment SU offers Sony PCMM10 Portable Linear PCM Recorders (List Price: $399.99) to anyone who introduces them to great music. Blow their virtual socks off and the music you suggest will be featured and you'll win a digital recorder.



MusikPitch is a brand new website where songwriters can find the latest opportunities from companies, studios, and individuals looking for custom songs. It's a straightforward marketplace, where you can get your music heard and win contracts, regardless of your experience and location. New projects are posted daily — from big name movie studios and company brands to non-profits and schools. Start browsing for great new opportunities today!


Pete and Pat Luboff are offering a special rate to Muse's Muse readers on a single song consultation: MM readers get a $5
discount by sending $15 via PayPal to instead of using the $20 single-song button on the site. Please email the songs to the same address (mp3 attachment with the lyrics in the body of the email - lyrics only are fine).
Response will be by email.


32,000 live music venues of all sizes are featured including clubs, bars, restaurants, lounges, coffee shops, theaters, halls, churches, book stores, community centers, house concerts and open mics. There are also 1,500 festivals listed as well as over 1,000 colleges for any artist that wants to plan a college tour.

Jumpstart your tour today! Click here for more information!

Muse's Clues - By Irene Jackson

©1998-2010 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

This month I'm going to point you to a website that doesn't specifically have to do with music, but has everything to do with ideas. For the longest time I've been looking for a website or websites that might give you a bit of an epiphany when it comes to the musical part of your songwriting. Words or lyrics, oddly enough, are easy to find inspiration for, but other than listening to different music than you are normally exposed to, what else is there out there that might inspire you on the music front?

Ted Talks came from a small nonprofit organization called TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) which began in 1984 as an annual conference bringing interesting people from around the word to give inspirational talks about or relating to those three topics. It has since gone global, with conferences in Long Beach and Oxford, UK and even South Asia.

If you go to the website (, you'll find many of these talks in video form, all for free and more being added all of the time. I've seen a few of them over the last couple of years, and they truly are inspiring, and it finally occurred to me to do a little more in depth searching on the TED website for talks that are music-related. Well, I found a bunch!

Today, I'm going to point you to three of those talks, all relating to music. Now you might think, yeah, okay, so what's so inspirational about listening to someone playing or talking about music? Well, you don't know TED :-).

The first is a one man orchestra in the form of Andrew Bird. What he does with a few small instruments, his whistle and a loop machine is something else. What it made me think about is how we really need to PLAY with music, to fool around unabashedly and see what we can come up with, maybe using instruments we haven't been near before, maybe with technology we haven't tried before. Another interesting note is the discussion about songwriting that takes place in the comments section below the video. Not always nice, but definitely worth reading :-).

Another TED talk is given by David Byrne. If you haven't heard of David, he was in the band Talking Heads, popular in the late 70's and 80's. David Byrne himself is an fascinating character who is definitely forward-thinking in terms of music and technology. His talk at TED is "How Architecture Helped Music Evolve" and is an interesting perspective on how venues from the earliest composers to more contemporary artists, actually had an effect on the music these people created. How many rooms have you played in or written in? Have you ever tried writing in a completely different place like a church or a bathroom? Two very different acoustics :-).

The last talk I'm going to point you to comes by way of Tod Machover who talks about creating brand new instruments and software for creating music. I've started reading a book called Your Brain on Music, and it is truly amazing how music is so different from anything else in your life in the way that it uses every part of your brain. Tod talks about experiments in new music and how important it can be for people, kids of all ages, to explore and create their own music. Again, I think the idea of really playing with your music, letting go of the old way of doing things, taking up a new instrument or just playing in a different way with what you already use, is a creative and important part of your musical evolution.

There are many, many other fascinating talks on TED. Who knows? Something completely unrelated could open up your mind.

Now go play!


Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles and a songwriter's messageboard.

Songwriting Tips:

Featured Article - By Brad Dunse

QUICK TIP: World Class Champion Title Holder

When I think of "World Class Title Holder", for some odd reason my mind automatically reverts to boxing. Unfortunately that conjures up remembrances of the Tyson ear snacking match with Evander Holyfield back in the late 90’s. Yuck! That gives a whole new perception to Blood, Sweat and Tears. OK so I’m not a big boxing fan or up on talking about the latest heavy-weight title holder, but we can still talk about title champs regardless.

Lets talk about who could be a World Class Title Champ today? I bet you know of someone who could… you that’s who! No I'm not suggesting you take up boxing, but you could hold a list of world class song titles in your hook book or whatever you choose to call your writing notes.

There are many ways to start a song. One of the most common approaches is simply finding a title, attaching the theme and emotion you feel, and begining to write it. But where can we find interesting or original titles for our songs? Actually they are sprinkled all around us in our day to day lives - whether you are just starting out writing and don't know where to look, or have been writing a while and just need to look someplace fresh or an old place you’ve taken for granted.
Here are five places for you to start looking.

1. Conversation. You can find titles either in your own conversations or by listening to others. They are an interesting source you might never have come up with on your own. Next time you are waiting in line at the check out, pay attention to the chatter around you and see if you can pick out something. Maybe while in an airport waiting for your flight you’ll hear interesting goodbyes. Sitting in the park you might hear two love birds holding hands and talking as they pass by. Maybe your kid has a friend over and they are chatting away about their BFs or GFs. Maybe you are at a party, church or songwriter meeting and folks are making general conversation about their jobs, economy, their antique car or tricked out truck.

You aren't intending on ease dropping. Well, actually, you are... but not for reasons of getting a scoop, unless the scoop is a title that you can use for your next song! You can find titles in everyday sayings, buzzwords, someone's original spin on an old cliché… you never know where they’ll lurk.

Here are a few examples I picked out from only a few minutes conversation between my daughter and a friend of hers leaving our house as I was writing this tip:

• When we were leaving
• Only two showed up
• He always wears cowboy shirts
• Late summer
• Let's party… let's go

Nothing overtly clever or ingenious here but we’ve extracted some song title elements from natural conversation such as alliteration, a number, cowboy, season of the year, and party excitement. I can envision some ideas of inspiration in each one of them! The talent of a writer isn't so much in finding and relying on an awesome title with which to write lyrics, although a great title is always a plus. Where the real talent shows itself is writing awesome lyrics to any old title. Billy Joel had a timeless hit on a song simply called “Piano Man”. While it could have been solely about one person, we got a cast of characters in that song, each with their own emotional part to play in relation to the main character. That is talented songwriting!

2. Best Seller's list. Get on line and check out the best selling books for the month or year. You can find some unique titles there. The author has already done your work of making a concise, interesting or provocative title. Since no one can copyright a title, it is fair game for you to write whatever you want towards that title. Here are some random examples I found in a matter of a minute or two:

• Baby Proof
• Hot On Her Heels
• Me and My Shadow
• When The Game Was Ours
• Angel Creek
• Rough Country
• 204 Rosewood Lane

Can you get an idea of how these titles might show themselves as songs? I bet you can! Challenge yourself this month… take one of these title possibilities and try writing it into a song.

Tune in next month for ideas 3-5!


Brad Dunse is a performing songwriter based deep in the country's heartland reflecting sensitivity of daily living in his songs. Writing primarily in Folk, Country, Pop, or Americana, he occasionally writes CCM. Co-writer of The Wall, a tribute to Viet Vets receiving major market airplay, he's also received airplay on NPR, local public, independent, and web radio. He is a freelance writer, is board member of Minnesota Association of Songwriters, been member or involved in ASCAP, NSAI, SongU and other organizations. You can visit his web site at WWW.BRADDUNSEMUSIC.COM as well Add As Facebook Friend or Follow Him On Twitter.


Why Would Anyone Donate $15,000 to Make My Album? (I have no idea, but they did.)   - by Jennifer Haase

Think you can't raise the money you need to record your album?  Think again. 


COURTING APPEAL: Getting Fan #1001, or The Secret of Ullage - by Bill Pere

The little-known concept of "Ullage" can be a powerful tool for overcoming one of the biggest obstacles in expanding a fan base -- Complacency.  Once you've gotten 100,or 1000 fans, how do you get fan #101 or 1001?   In the Four Fader paradigm discussed in a previous article,  Faders # 3 and 4 deal with the parameter of appeal.  A "hit" is essentially a song with mass appeal.  That does not necessarily mean it’s a well-crafted song, or an effective song (Faders #1 and 2).  If you take away all the hit-making reasons that are not part of the song itself (artist popularity, advertising budget, industry connections,  great production, etc),  then you start to find a greater relationship between well written, effective songs, and mass appeal.  This article shows you how to use the concept of ullage to keep the Four Faders optimized for your success. 


With A Little Help From My Friends - by Jan Fabyankovic

One of my 2011 New Year's resolutions is to find a way to improve my songwriting skills by getting “Tips from the Tops.” I wanted to share my music research with the Muses Muse viewers hoping it will be also aid you to compose the best music and write professional, catchy lyrics. As a member of TAXI, my first interview is with Michael Laskow, founder and CEO of TAXI, the world's leading independent A&R company. For those unfamiliar with TAXI, this organization connects unsigned artists, bands and songwriters with major record labels, publishers and film/TV companies. Since it takes a brilliant song to conquer the major music maze, TAXI has numerous ways to educate folks on the techniques necessary to write a hit song. .


Why Guitar Teachers Find It Difficult To Get Guitar Students - by Tom Hess

Learn why most guitar teachers struggle to get guitar students and find out the most effective ways of filling up your guitar teaching schedule.

Classifieds & Useful Services


The Indie Bible shows you where to get your music reviewed, your songs played, and your CDs sold. Now in its Seventh Edition, The Indie Bible has 330 pages of valuable contacts and music-related articles.

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GMC is a video lesson archive & community. GMC has tons of helpful videos, instructors and lessons. GMC also features forum for chatting with teachers and students 24/7, recording collaborations, attending video chats + content for bass, drums, singing, piano etc. All genres and styles are covered - Rock, metal, shred, blues, jazz, country & acoustic, funk.. We want you to have fun while learning - so get rocking NOW!

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Lyricist is the first-of-its-kind word processor designed specifically for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software includes a Rhyming Dictionary, Thesaurus, Album Categorization, Chord Charting, Chord Generator, Song Arrangement, and On-Line Copyright Link.

The new version 3 release adds support for "Piano Style" chord symbols, Nashville Number System, and Transposition features - all in one easy-to-use package - and all for only $54.95! (That's $5.00 off to all Muse's News readers who purchase from the review link at!)

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Muse's Muse Visitors - Enter Promo Code: 42567 for Discount.

Limited Introductory Offer of $12.95 for Digital Download Discounts for CD, and CD/Digital Download Combo shown on ordering page.


One of the most respected and imitated indie music sites on the web, has been serving the Independent Music Community since 1996 with streaming audio, monthly CD Reviews, huge industry search directory, success-building resources, classifieds, and much-needed recognition. The site offers a wealth of information to artists trying to survive & thrive in today's competitive music industry.

For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 7 lines (though I do make exceptions), where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to:

Click here for Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities.

Contact Info & Credits

Jodi Krangle, Editor:

The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is included (including credits and information at the end of each issue). Others should contact me at All articles copyrighted by their authors.

Back issues and other information will be available here.

The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters.

For further information, send your e-mail to: - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe or end your subscription. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc.

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Back issues of the newsletter can be read here or in an archive at the National Library of Canada ecollection.


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