The Muse's News
||The Muse's News
|* Featured Article: Quick Tip: Just Who Do You Think You Are Anyway!!? - by Brad Dunse
Copyright 1998-2011 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.
FIND THE PERFECT GIFT FOR THE SONGWRITER IN YOUR LIFE!
All sorts of products and services especially for songwriters,
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(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
NEW ONLINE COURSE FROM BERKLEMUSIC.COM CREATIVE WRITING: POETRY
"Creative Writing: Poetry" is a course for writers-songwriters, poets, and
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First off, those of you that have been dealing with hurricane Irene and its aftermath, I hope you've stayed safe. We just got a massive lightning storm here in the Toronto and immediately outlying areas. Scary in its force, but not really enough to do any real damage. We were lucky. If you were in any of the effective areas, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know you're ok!
Moving on to the newsletter, this month we have a new contributor. They're big shoes to fill, but John BrhelI, a songwriting from upstate New York (so John - check in with me? Let me know how you're doing??) has agreed to give it a shot. :) He's written the Muse's Clues this month and has contributed a really excellent and helpful piece for everyone. There are plenty of new reviews, another book review from Anastasia, Brad has contributed another Quick Tip, and there's lots of other articles on the website you might find interesting. So let's get to it!
Here are the raffle winners this month:
Sharon Kister from Rogersville, TN, has won a 6 month membership to GuitarMasterClass.net. 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.
Lee Rosenthal, from Hampshire, England, Ontario Canada, 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.
As I always say, 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.)
Thanks so much for subscribing folks! Stay safe and be well.
All the very best,
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
WRITE BETTER SONGS WITH MASTERWRITER 2.0 - NEW PRICE!
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Looking for something really special for that songwriter in your
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MasterWriter's NEW price is now only $199 - but you'll still get
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The Muse's Muse! Take the Tour, Download a Free Trial, and get a $20 discount! Note
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Great music is only a click away!
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.
John Brendan Russell - Genre: COUNTRY
Humor collides with amazing country melodies! "Family Portrait" explores family life with wit and warmth. The arrangements run the country spectrum from "Newgrass" to "Americana". John Brendan Russell's songwriting is influenced by Jim Croce and Jerry Reed and their ability to tell great stories with humor.
Moebius Cat - Genre: ALTERNATIVE
Moebius Cat is a fluid and dynamic project, creating melodic and emotional music in an experimental fusion of dark wave, progressive rock, gothic ethereal, world, electronic and neoclassical styles. Sounds intriguing? Then go to the website, listen to Moebius Cat music and download the entire CD to your hard drive or iPod. If you’re a musician or a singer and feel that your talent can contribute to Moebius Cat unique sound - Contact Moebius Cat!
|Songwriting Book Review
By: Anastasia Karalekas
Shortcuts to Songwriting For Film & TV
by Robin Frederick
“Understand the business you’re in and make things happen!” p. 241
And that’s exactly what Robin Frederick does in her book “Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV”; she explains all the details of this business so that you can understand it, and make things happen!
All the chapters (called shortcuts) are quite short and easy to read. At the end of each shortcut, you get an exercise to do right away. That’s 114 of them, giving you some mighty good practice along the way. Do them all and you may just end up with quite a few songs ready for pitching before you’ve even finished reading the book. : )
Among so many other things, you’ll find shortcuts to creating perfect melodies for film & TV; exercises to convey any mood, atmosphere or era; picking titles to get you noticed; what to avoid to not get ignored; production of your recordings; and that’s just a drop in the bucket.
As with any instructional book, there is some studying to be done, but I can assure you it’s the kind you will enjoy. (Part of it is watching lots of TV and movies!) Also, this book is beautifully cross-referenced. No more searching for something you read earlier about a certain topic; if something is mentioned and there are other related tips, the author has done the cross-referencing for you.
I love the section on creating your own broadcast-quality recordings. For some, using a professional studio isn’t always an option, so in this section, you’ll learn how to do it yourself, starting with choosing your microphone, to how to set up your own home studio. But the author doesn’t leave it at that. In fact, she even provides some excellent help in how to properly choose a professional studio, if that’s the route you choose. And some great checklists are provided for you, ensuring that you don’t miss anything along the way.
One of my favourite sections in this book is Shortcut #67. This is where you get to “learn what makes a track tick!” (p. 169) Choose a song, any song, and then go through the list of questions in this shortcut, learning how to listen like a producer. This is valuable information to have because you may want to wear a few more hats along the way.
This book is intense. The quality and quantity of information packed in these pages is a definite indication that a lot of work and experience went into it. A quick search on the internet shows that it may just be the only book of its kind. The author gives you a pretty detailed idea of what the market is looking for, which makes this book essential for anyone wanting to get their songs in film or TV.
Overall, no matter what your “style” of music, the 114 tips that Robin Frederick has provided here can be applied to any genre of music. You’ll see how many possibilities exist for songwriters, and you’ll understand the level of demand that exists for your songs in this market.
Pick up a copy of this great reference manual! You won’t regret it.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
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
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
BRETT MANNING'S SINGING SUCCESS SYSTEMATIC VOCAL TRAINING SYSTEM:
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Drop by for more details and start
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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 http://www.musesmuse.com/contests.html &
Please check there regularly for updates!
13th ANNUAL GREAT AMERICAN SONG CONTEST NOW ACCEPTING ENTRIES!
The Great American Song Contest features awards for 45 winners in 9 categories and provides $10,000 in Prizes. Entrants receive written song evaluations from music-industry judges, including publishers, music producers and recording artists. Open to songwriters, lyricists and composers around the world. Sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere. Submission deadline is October 28, 2011. For details, visit: http://www.GreatAmericanSong.com
2010 GREAT AMERICAN SONG CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED
Michael McGarrah won top honors for his original song "Dancin' In the Bone Yard." First-Place category winners were Ken Feldman for "Living Together" (Acoustic/Folk); Daniel James Maguire MOG for "All Good" (Rock); Lynn & Russ Case "Jesus, Hope & Me" (Christian/Gospel); Kin Vassy & Kent Maxson for "Dirt" (Country); Tracy Newman for "Fire Up the Weed" (Special Category); Eric Roberts for "Children's Song" (Instrumental); Ariel Rose, Juan Vicente Zambrano & William J. Snihur, Jr. for "My Perfect Day" (Pop); Blänk for "Shirt Off" (HipHop/R&B) and Archie Brodsky for "Sunday Dinner Goin' Down" (Lyric Writing). You can hear these winning songs at the Great American Song Hall Of Fame at: GreatAmericanSong.com
TOP DOG SONG CONTEST SEEKING SONGS IN ALL GENRES
Administered by a Nashville indie record label and publisher, Top Dog seeks new song material in Christian, country, pop, rock, metal, alternative, latin, rap, and R&B. Complete songs with lyrics required. See website for official rules: www.topdogsongcontest.com. Open to people 18 years old+ or those who enter with parents permission. Win a cut done by Cali Tucker, $1,000 cash, publishing contract, and or a trip to Nashville. See website for additional rules, complete prize information, and other details. Deadline: October 31, 2011.
AWARD WINNING SONGWRITER OFFERING SONGWRITING TIPS AND CRITIQUING SERVICES
Award winning songwriter Jane Eamon is offering songwriting one on one classes via Skype. These sessions are one hour in length and can cover any topic you'd like to address. From writing, to critique, to ideas and games. Or just to share your thoughts and get feedback. If you're interested in a session contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a class.
SELL YOUR MUSIC FOR FREE & KEEP 100% OF YOUR SALES
VibeDeck is a free direct-to-fan music sales solution that's easy to use and quick to set up. All you need is your digital tracks, some album artwork and a PayPal account. When a fan buys your music, the money goes directly into your PayPal account so you can access it immediately. VibeDeck does not take a cut or charge a service subscription fee. It's truly free, easy and invaluable for any artist with music to share with the world.
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THE 8TH ANNUAL IAMA (INTERNATIONAL ACOUSTIC MUSIC AWARDS) KICKS OFF
The 8th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) is currently accepting entries, this awards competition is judged based on songwriting, performance & artistry. Win prizes in 8 different categories: Best Male Artist, Best Female Artist, Best Group/Duo, Folk/Americana/Roots, AAA/Alternative, Instrumental, Open, Bluegrass/Country. There will also be an Overall Grand Prize winner awarded to the top winner worth US$11,000, which includes radio promotion to over 250 radio stations in US and Canada, featured on Acoustic Cafe, a syndicated radio program. You may also obtain the entry form at: http://www.inacoustic.com.
MUSIKPITCH: NEW ONLINE MARKETPLACE FOR SONGWRITING OPPORTUNITIES
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! http://www.musikpitch.com
SONGWRITING CONSULTATION SPECIAL OFFER:
Pete and Pat Luboff are offering a special rate to Muse's Muse
readers on a single song consultation: http://www.writesongs.com/consults.html MM readers get a $5
discount by sending $15 via PayPal to email@example.com 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.
THE INDIE VENUE BIBLE - A GROUNDBREAKING VENUE DIRECTORY FOR ANY
ARTIST PLANNING TO TOUR IN THE US OR CANADA!
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 John Brhel
©2011 John Brhel. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission
I’m a melody fanatic. Give me some ear candy and I can usually look the other way if a song’s lyrics aren’t up to snuff (hence my steadfast support for Katy Perry and most bubblegum pop.) This is both good and bad.
While this hook addiction has helped make me a better melody writer, my strength in lyrics and titles has faltered as a result. Whenever I’m stumped for either, I turn to the giants for inspiration. Ever hear this one?
“Cracklin' Rosie you're a store-bought woman
But you make me sing like a guitar hummin'…”
--“Cracklin’ Rosie,” Neil Diamond
Really, Neal? What an odd title for a pop song! Despite this, “Cracklin’ Rosie” reached the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970. “Cracklin’ Rosie” proves that even the most seemingly random of titles (in actuality, it’s named after a Canadian wine), can make the basis for a memorable song.
Had Neal written “Cracklin’ Rosie” today, he might have gleaned the title and lyrics from Burr Settles’ Titular and LyriCloud programs. Titular and LyriCloud (http://muse.fawm.org/) are programs designed to create novel titles and lyrics for songwriters based on “computational techniques…use(d) to analyze natural language,” according to an interview with Carnegie Mellon, of which Settles is a post-doctoral fellow in the university’s Machine Learning Department. Titular and LyriCloud’s content are based on more than 137,000 lyrics from nearly 16,000 artists extracted from online lyrics sites. The artists span multiple genres and are as diverse as Beyonce and Van Halen.
Settles, computer scientist and guitarist for Pittsburgh pop/rock band Delicious Pastries, created Titular and LyriCloud to help participants write songs for the February Album Writing Month (FAWM) event he helped launched in 2004. The FAWM calls for songwriters to write 14 new songs in 28 days. In 2010, FAWM’s 4,000 users wrote more than 10,000 new songs. Settles made Titular and LyriCloud available on the event’s website to help FAWM participants reach their goals.
Titular creates titles using natural language analysis tools. Each word in the title is tagged based on its part of speech, such as noun, verb, adjective, etc. The program then creates templates based on patterns in the data. So, in the case of “Cracklin’ Rosie,” the template would be “(adjective) (proper noun.” Using this same template, Mr. Diamond might have also yielded the title “Heavenly Sony.” Could “Disastrous London” have been a #1 hit? How about “Perky Simon”?
LyriCloud works a little differently. Enter a word of interest and the program suggests up to 25 possible related words. A search might return modifiers, antonyms and/or rhymes of your seed word. Let’s play with Mr. Diamond’s lyrics. One search with the seed word of “guitar” yielded words like strumming, unpack, accordion and rock. Just imagine “Cracklin’ Rosie” with new LyriCloud-based lines:
“Cracklin’ Rosie you're a store-bought accordion
But you make me unpack like a rock star strumming...”
While this particular lyric doesn’t make much sense, a blind evaluation of LyriCloud determined the program to be better at generating related words and inspirational qualities than those selected at random or for their topical similarity.
Looking to outdo “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” or “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey”? Boxing yourself into a title can often be to your advantage. Forced to create a song out of predefined words, you’re not wasting time brainstorming every possible idea under the sun. It focuses you and gives you a task to complete. Just imagine the awesome songs you could write around “The Freestyle of the Female” and “Celebrate Us,” real titles generated by Titular. Heck, “Celebrate Us” is actually a great title. I call it!
Say you’ve got a great Titular title like “Blah, Bartender” (another real one) and you’re stuck on cliché words like “beer” and “drunk.” Punch “bartender” into LyriCloud and you might pull up words like “clowns” to describe bar patrons or “Manhattan” to describe a particular drink. LyriCloud can help give your lyrics some color and take them to places you never considered.
Most song generators, Settles points out, are either Mad-Lib based or totally random, leading to nonsensical titles and lyrics. If you’re looking for title and lyric generators that aren’t totally random, but based on science and popular music, give Titular and LyriCloud a try. Both programs are free and extremely user-friendly (all Titular takes is one mouse click) and give you the benefit of word combinations based on tried and true song formulas. Just think: You could be this generation’s Neil Diamond with your groundbreaking single, “1-2-3 the Unforgettable.” Or maybe people will be singing your classic“Why Don’t You Shout” at baseball games.
John Brhel is a songwriter from upstate New York who wrote his first batch of pop songs before graduating from elementary school. A lover of all music, John writes country songs, plays in a punk band and spends a good deal of his free time listening to Diane Warren ballads. John regularly attends industry events in New York and Los Angeles and is a member of ASCAP and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. A lover of melody and the left-field chord change, John lives and breathes songs. He is always on the lookout for Skype cowriters.
Featured Article - By Brad Dunse
QUICK TIP: Just Who Do You Think You Are Anyway!!?
Quick Tip: Just Who Do You Think You Are Anyway!!?
Jumping off the songwriting craft trail this month, there is another aspect of songwriting that is hugely important we ought to live every day.
Suppose I walked up to you, introduced myself saying... "Hello. My name is Brad", we shook hands, smiled cordially, began to chit chat, and I asked… "So… what is it you do anyway?" What would you say? Would it be something like…?
"Me? I'm a maintenance person at Dandy Lion Flowers"
"I'm a tech support person for Trouble-free Computer Company"
"I'm a custodian for the school system of…"
…nope sorry still wrong answer.
How about looking them straight in the eye saying… "I'm a songwriter" or performing songwriter if you are one. I will guarantee at times you'll get responses like… "Oh? Really! Wow, a free spirit, huh? That's different…Have you written anything I know?" Or "Oh wow what kind do you write?" There will be immediate interest. People aren't accustomed to hearing such non-traditional responses in everyday chit chat.
If your day job is an auto mechanic and you introduce yourself as such, it's doubtful the person you are talking to will perk their ears with excited interest saying "Oh wow really - what kind of spark plugs do you use??" In attempts to find commonality or mine deeper for some sort of conversational fodder however, they might yawn, stare over your shoulder to that barking dog wagging around on an owner's leash 50 feet behind you, and ask you in monotones if you work on Toyotas, Fords or transmissions.
If your day job is an industrial construction worker they won't ask you what make of equipment you drive. If you are an accountant they aren't going to ask you what spreadsheet program you use. Respond with "I'm a songwriter" however, and it likely will draw genuine interest , and you never know who you are talking to, a venue owner looking for music if you are a performing songwriter, a fellow writer who is looking to co-write, a studio owner who knows of a band or artist looking for songs to finish their project, a film supervisor who is looking for material, or how about even a husband looking for a special birthday gift for his wife…you just never know what that might lead to in opportunities.
I hear you saying…"But Dang it. I really am a software engineer… I spent four years of college learning and it's my job!" Woa! Easy now, no one's asking you to quit! But how long have you been writing songs? Perhaps longer than you've been a software engineer?
If not, then look at it from this perspective… "I've given my dues to my day job introductions and I'm certainly not going to quit tomorrow or jeopardize it by confessing I'm a songwriter first off, and maybe I do owe the songwriter in me some credit as well."
There will be opportunity in the conversation to confess your day job as the funding mechanism for your songwriting habit anyway. People inherently know the finances behind artists and will likely follow up with something like, "So is that all you do then is write songs or do you do something else as well?"
Tantamount to all in introducing yourself as a songwriter, is the reinforcement of that belief deep within you. Believing it yourself builds acknowledgement of your identity as a songwriter first and day job second. Or at least putting them on an equal playing field, giving justified validation of your art. If you really believe it, you'll begin to see yourself differently, write better, and live with a whole different perspective.
Have you ever bought a new or different car and suddenly realized, "Hey, everybody drives these things!" You never noticed but there are a lot of cars just like yours on the road that you never saw before. Similar is viewing yourself as a songwriter, you'll notice more of your own kind out there, draw intrigue from those who aren't and begin to develop a synergy over time that will help your writing and persona as well.
If it is your dream, one day maybe you'll be able to answer the question of… "Do you do anything else or just write songs?" with… "Nope, I just write songs."
As an exercise for the next month try introducing yourself as a songwriter, or somehow make it known to everyone you meet that you are a songwriter and watch how differently it makes you feel, and spark intrigue from others you meet.
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.
|"ON SITE" FEATURED ARTICLE(S)
Chord Pallet - by Dan Rivers
What if I told you that you can easily determine what chords are available in every key. It’s not as hard as you think. There is a pattern to it.
How To Lead People to Your Music in the Digital Age
- by Bill Pere
Getting music online is the easy part. Once it's there, how do you get people to find it? With the maturity of digital delivery and a proliferation of websites that allow easy uploading and legal downloading of music, the old models of making and marketing CDs are gone. The shift from an album-based economy to a track-based economy spawns many new considerations for the Indie artist when the time comes to go into the studio and record. This article gives you some tips.
Our Job As Music Teachers -
by Mick Polich
What inspires young people (or older folks) to take up a musical instrument? And how do we keep them inspired, as well as ourselves? Mick takes a brief view into teaching, and helping others help themselves with music...
Playing The Field -
by Bill Pere
Ever notice how many songs address the same subject, but some have focus and impact, while others seem diffuse and wandering? The answer may lie in the use (or non-use) of the important element of Semantic Field. This article will show you what you need to consider when trying to bring focus and impact to your lyrics.
The Alchemy of Singing - by Beth Lawrence
"When we attempt to convey emotion through song or speech, we are using the art of Alchemy to transmute air into a medium that others can hear, translate and feel." Yes, basically it comes right down to plain old physics applied to performance art! The bottom line here is that in order for your audience to feel anything as a listener, you must be feeling something as you're singing your song!
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THE 11th EDITION OF THE INDIE BIBLE IS NOW AVAILABLE!
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LYRICIST VERSION 3: THE SONGWRITER'S BEST FRIEND
Lyricist is the first-of-its-kind word processor designed
specifically for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software
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The new version 3 release adds support for "Piano Style" chord
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THE SUCCESSFUL SONGWRITER MOTIVATION & MEDITATION AUDIO
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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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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