The Muse's News
||The Muse's News
Copyright 1998-2011 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.
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Hi everyone! Welcome to another issue and I hope you're enjoying the warmer weather now that it's finally upon us. Of course, those of you who might be in or around Calgary, AB, aren't enjoying the weather so much. :-/ My deepest sympathies go out to all of you in that area. And for any of you that might want to help with relief efforts or donations, you can find more information at the Canadian Red Cross, the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and/or The Salvation Army of Canada. Every little bit helps.
Moving right along, I have a bit of a teaser for you ... There's a new columnist coming on board who will be talking about the recording end of things. This is an area of discussion I'm sure a LOT of us with home studios are interested in - since these days, we musicians/songwriters wear a LOT of hats. I'll give you more information as soon as his first article is online, so keep watching this space! (Or the one that comes up next month ... or ... well. You know what I mean. :) )
And now, let's get to the raffle winners:
Roger Roseborough from Freeport, NY, has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.
from Mechanicsville, VA, 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.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR POTENTIAL RAFFLE WINNERS:
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 for subscribing, guys! I hope your month is especially fulfilling. :)
All the best,
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
BRETT MANNING'S SINGING SUCCESS SYSTEMATIC VOCAL TRAINING SYSTEM:
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Raina Krangle - Genre: SINGER/SONGWRITER
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.
A singer-songwriter for over 20 years, Raina is a self-taught musician with a fresh folk-rock vibe. The CD is a compilation of her songs over the last 20 years. Raina has heartfelt lyrics and a soulful voice that soothes your ears and makes you want to keep listening. You can read Cyrus Rhodes' review of her album here.
Editor's Note: And yes, this is my sister. :) It's a great CD!
|Songwriting Book Review
By: John Thomas
Your Band Is A Virus
by James Moore
I appreciate a book that starts out with honesty. No fluff. No nonsense. Just a straight shot to
And this book is honest. Radically so.
Don’t believe me?
How about these to start:
…[Y]ou can bet there will be work. Let’s be realistic. If you’re not enthused about
working hard to expose your music to more people, no one else will be. You may as well stay in your
room and play your acoustic if you’re not willing to log the hours, because otherwise, you are
confusing a hobby with a profession, and in the process creating unnecessary conflict in yourself
and in the world. This is important to understand. The difference between a hobby and a profession
is simply where the effort and intent is directed.
On selling out:
The artists who really treat their music as a business tend to make it further than the
artists who don’t.
This is where the issue of perception comes up again. Many artists fall into the trap of seeing
business-savvy bands as sellouts. We’ve all seen hordes of Nickelback wannabe bands playing at the
local pub, and it’s a sad sight. But this perception is limited. Trent Reznor is a great artist and
businessman. So is Maynard James Keenan of Tool.
On what this book covers (and doesn’t cover) and why:
…[T]his book will focus mainly on online promotion of your music. Why? Well, for one, advice on
booking tours, getting a manager, and making your way through the music business can be found in
other fine books such as “Confessions of a Record Producer” by Moses Avalon. Secondly, this is what
I know, and I’d rather share my expertise than venture into other areas like tour booking where I
don’t have experience. And plus, it all starts online. You need to build the foundation online, and
why not make it a strong one?
Those are just a few quotes from the first nine pages. There are another 183 pages of straight-
shooting music and music business promotion tips after these pages.
You get tons of information here, such as:
• Why fewer tracks with consistently stronger material and better recording quality are
better than more tracks of lesser strength recorded at poorer quality
• Why (and how to) be careful about what you budget and spend on different aspects of promotion
with maximum recommended spending limits for certain things
• How to use social media like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to stay in
constant contact with your fans
• How to use contests to skyrocket your exposure
• The best ways to use Last.fm, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and Reverbnation
• What app he recommends to help you tap into the mobile phone market to promote and share your
• Possibly the easiest way to get your music on iTunes. And amazon. And Rhapsody.
• Search Engine Optimization and other ways to get your website noticed and found
• Why finishing your cd and putting it out there for free doesn’t help you without promotion… and
how to promote it for maximum impact
• Plus, interviews with industry veterans (including legendary producer/engineer, Stuart Epps who
has worked with Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Oasis, Robbie Williams, Paul Rodgers (Bad Company, Free)
and members of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones)
• Links to a ton of resources
Now, I’ll make no bones about it. This book impressed me. There is an amazing amount of detail
about what he calls “Behind the Scenes Marketing.” An amazing amount of detail.
Having said that, I would have liked more detail about how to find the best angle for your press
release when you write it.
But, for the amount of information in this book, if you want to build a career in music and you’re
willing to put in the leg work, this book is worth getting. Now. I mean that. Go get it.
Me? I’m going to have a decaf espresso (it’s evening, after all), and re-read this again. And then
put it into action.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
John Thomas is a singer, songwriter, bass player, and guitarist living in Macon, Georgia.
You can see him thinking on paper about his passion for music and songwriting, along with thoughts on bass playing, coffee, and seeing people live their personal revolutions online at johnthomascafe.com.
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
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|Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
In the interest of conserving space (when I need to), 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!
SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS SONGWRITING PODCAST
Speaks Louder Than Words is a podcast that comes out every other week, with songwriters touching on their musical influences and upbringing, what's important to them in a song and often revealing the ideas behind their singles and albums. Since starting, Michael Kiwanuka, Nicky Graham, True Tiger and Ed Drewett have all appeared as have many more, sharing their thoughts on the craft. Click here to find previous episodes on iTunes... You can subscribe to get instant access to future releases.
LEARN WITH 3 LEGENDARY SONGWRITING MENTORS AT 14TH ANNUAL REO SONGWRITERS RETREAT
Join acclaimed songwriting instructors and recording artists Jason Blume, Karen Taylor-Good and Deborah Holland at the REO Songwriters Retreat, August 11-16, 2013. All-inclusive 6-day retreat with 14 songwriting sessions, delicious meals, daily social hour, optional adventure tour, and choice of lodging or camping......all at an amazing river's edge setting near Vancouver, British Columbia (4 hours from Seattle, Washington). Attendees include songwriters from US, Canada and Europe, from entry-level to full-time singer/songwriters. Full details at: http://www.reorafting.com/site/retreats/songwriters-retreat.html
A REVOLUTIONARY NEW WAY TO SHARE AND PROMOTE MUSIC
Tunii.com pays Fans to Follow and Promote Songs and is 100% FREE to join for both recording artists and music fans. Join us in our mission of making Tunii the future of the music industry where together we can all share in the success for connecting artists and fans around the world. Sign up today through this special Muse's Muse link and please check out our short “How Tunii works video” It's Easy, it's FREE and it's Fun!
BOOKING & TOURING SUCCESS STRATEGIES & SECRETS ONLINE COURSE
Getting great gigs, building your audience and selling more merchandise is exactly what your career is all about. This online course is jam-packed with 12 hours of downloadable audio mp3s and PDF Action Guides. There are 5 modules: Module 1: Tour Goals & Planning Strategies, Module 2: Routing Your Tours, Module 3: Negotiation Techniques & Contracts, Module 4: Working with Presenters, Bookers, Promoters/Advancing the Date, Module 5: Targeting Your Markets for Maximum Audiences. Plus 2 hours of bonus classes, BONUS #1: Website Maximizer-Is you’re your Website Selling You? Learn how. BONUS #2: Copy Writing: How to write fan emails, press releases and other promo copy that get responses. Bonus # 3: Three free Industry Biz Booster Monthly Mentor Interviews. And finally, weekly call-in office hours to talk with former agent, manager, author, creator, Jeri Goldstein directly, about the course and your career. Booking & Touring Success Strategies & Secrets gives you artist-tested, step-by-step strategies to help you reach your career goals and make all of your tours profitable. http://performingbiz.com.
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 email@example.com to schedule a class.
HAVE YOU EVER STRUGGLED TO FIND THE RIGHT CHORD OR NOTE TO FIT SOMEWHERE IN YOUR SONG?
Hooktheory is a free resource that can show you how to integrate basic music theory into your songwriting process, making it easier to write catchy chord progressions and melody. Hooktheory currently consists of three main areas:
1. The Hookbook demonstrates basic principles of music theory and how they relate to popular music. It's filled with multimedia-rich content explaining musical concepts synchronized to real songs so you can hear what you are learning and make connections easier.
2. The Music Editor lets you write chord progressions in Roman Numeral notation and listen to them in any key. Add a melody, save your work, share it with friends, or export it to Garageband, sheet music, or guitar tab.
3. The Analysis Wiki is a user-generated collection of analyses of popular songs. Look up the chord progression and melody of a song, or use the music editor to create your own analyses.
Check it out now!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 BIBLE PRESENTS THE ULTIMATE INDIE BUNDLE!
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Muse's Clues - By John Brhel
©2011-2013 John Brhel. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission
I wouldn’t normally side with Phil Spector. He’s crazy, dangerous, and has a haircut that makes Don King look downright pedestrian. I do, however, share one big musical belief with the creator of the Wall of Sound: Singles are where it’s at.
Don’t get me wrong, albums are cool. Revolver and Purple Rain are brilliant records, for example. But, despite being sonic thrill rides and works of undeniable creative genius, both have their fair share of “take it or leave it” tunes. I could do without the meandering “Dr. Robert” on Revolver, and Purple Rain’s “Computer Blue” kind of drags. The beauty of singles is that you don’t need to waste your time listening to musical duds. It’s all killer, no filler.
Singles are catchy. Singles are infectious. There’s no needless noodling or long-winded intros. It’s “Hey, Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind” and on to the next tune.
Why focus on singles in particular? Well, you can learn a lot from them, whether you write three-minute pop songs yourself or spend your time crafting epic post-metal. Singles are a study in musical economy. It takes talent and hard work to write a song that’s instantly infectious and feels like a complete musical thought in under four minutes time.
Looking for in-your-face, no-words-barred criticism of today’s singles? The folks over at The Singles Jukebox pour over brand new pop singles like pretentious rock critics do Pet Sounds or Pavement. In raw blurbs of 250-words or less, the team at The Singles Jukebox praise and pick apart everything from Kanye West to Lady Antebellum to underground dance-pop tracks.
Sometimes the criticism is direct as in reviewer Patrick St. Michel’s take on Maroon 5’s “Love Somebody”:
“The way this song gently builds, and its general litheness, works in a way very little of Maroon 5's material has. But Adam Levine’s voice is totally out of place. The way he rhymes words in the verses just sounds so awkward.”
Other times, the blurbs get a bit more…colorful, as in Jonathan Bradley’s take on Tyler Farr’s “Redneck Crazy”: "It’s a gender-flipped take on Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” only Underwood actually wilded out in her song. Advice for the subject of Farr’s tune: Advice for the subject of Farr’s tune: when he drives that Silverado on to your front lawn, take a Louisville Slugger to both headlights.”
Why should you, the songwriter, care about what some overly critical, Lester Bangs devotees have to say? Well, in theory you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t let random people have that big an impact on the direction of your music. On the other hand, you can learn a lot from these folks. According to the site’s About Us section, the folks at The Singles Jukebox “believe that presenting a range of writers’ voices is a more enlightening and more fun approach to reviewing (music).” Sure, many of the blurbs might be smarmy and over-the-top, but this type of unadulterated critique often shines a spotlight on very real shortcomings of popular songs, just the type of information you can use to improve your own.
I don’t usually spotlight websites unless they specifically cater to songwriters, but The Singles Jukebox is a fantastic exception. It was definitely eye-opening to stumble upon the website as I did a couple years ago. For one, I didn’t realize one could put so much effort into deconstructing a Ke$ha song. Secondly, it made me realize the factors involved in making one song a number one and another a bargain bin unknown. Maybe you’ve got a great verse and chorus but your bridge is treading on maudlin territory. Perhaps your melody is boring. Maybe your song is as dated as late 90s Savage Garden. Reading blurbs like those at The Singles Jukebox make me look at my songs with a more critical eye, and I’m sure they’d inspire you to be more critical as well.
It’s totally cool to write what you like and say “to hell with the critics,” but I think there’s real value in soaking up this kind of information. It’s like focus testing a new flavor of ice cream without having to pay anyone to sample the flavors: you can find out what stuff works and what doesn’t by visiting this website and seeing what this diverse group of critics has to say. If anything, the blurbs at The Singles Jukebox will make you realize that you’re going to have to work real hard to write music that’s fresh and unique.
Whether you go to gain some insight on the state of pop music or you just want to see someone skewer Taylor Swift’s latest single, head on over to The Singles Jukebox. They’ve been going strong since March of 2009 and don’t show any sign of slowing down. Go ahead; see what you’re up against. Who knows, maybe someday these fanatical pop aficionados will review your single someday.
Now, time to go put on my “She Bop” 45.
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. A lover of melody and the left-field chord change, John lives and breathes songs. Write a song with him via Skype (berealmusic) and follow him on Twitter (@johnbrhel).
Featured Article - By Brad Dunse
QUICK TIP: Lights, Camera, Traction
Ever get stuck trying to bring emotion to your lyrics? Feels like you’re spinning your wheels and you’ve lost all traction?
Here’s the #1 secret to get you moving and your listener feeling…
It is so simple… anyone can do it… anytime… anywhere… anyplace.
So, what is it?
Sorry, can’t tell you, it’s a secret… just kidding.
The number one way to get image in your song is to… see an image and write out what you see.
Awl, that old bit. You might be telling yourself, “Well, I don’t see anything when I write; I just don’t write that way.” Maybe you have trouble visualizing and have given up, or maybe you do see a video playing out but don’t know how to write it out?
If you want to get people’s attention and move them, it really helps to translate an image to words, and words to emotion. In other words you’ve got to show them, not tell them.
It’s sort of like a file transfer, only not an exact copy is transferred. You see a JPG picture, explain it to someone, and then they see their own version of the image. It won’t be a clone; you don’t want it to be. The idea is to get your listener invested in your song to where they see their own creation based on your lyrics. That’s how you hook them in, and that’s the real secret here.
After all, that’s what songs are about, right? Getting a listener to “feel” what you have to say in your song.
So, how do we do it?
Let’s take a quick walk through a large city park.
Close your eyes a second, take a few deep breaths, forget about your bosses pushy attitude or the burrito you ate for lunch that’s talking back.
Just relax and picture a large city park for about 5-minutes. Fill it with people, animals, park items or whatever you want; then come back here.
Oh, come on, humor me and do it… Ready? Okay, let’s go to the park…
…Alright, you’re back. You did close your eyes and spent a few minutes at the park, didn’t you? If not, stop here and do that before reading on. If you did, what did you see? Or who did you see?
Start it up again in your head, stop it mid-frame, and then look around.
Maybe you saw a couple walking hand-in-hand through the park, and you hadn’t noticed before that they were eating ice cream cones, he’s reached over and his right-hand pointer finger is poised an inch from her cheek about to dab a smudge of chocolate off her cheek. Looking at her closely you see her brown eyes are rolled in an embarrassed toothy smile surrounded by full red lips.
What about the park bench to the right. There’s a man lying on it with scuffed unmatched shoes, one leg crossed over the other, and faded jeans with a fresh tear just above the knee. Did you notice his face has a hint of a proud smile as he sleeps? His head is resting on a crumpled up paper bag. The newspaper spread over his torso has a headline across his chest reading, “Homeless Hero Saves Stranded Child in City Park!”
Just passed the sleeping man you can zoom in on a baby Robin with a worm in its beak. The worm is longer than the bird itself as it struggles to pull it all the way out of the ground.
Pulling away from your close up on the bird you see a 3-year old boy on all fours watching the bird about 12-feet away as a single red Nike lays on its side in front of him, his neck is stretched skyward, and a sock dangles from his own mouth.
There you go. In just a few minutes of strolling through your imagination we find young romance, unlikely heroism, and innocence in its purity; each with their own little scene.
Your detailed videos have endless possibilities based off your experiences, movies you’ve seen or books you’ve read, or people you meet with incredible stories to tell.
Take a few minutes, go back to the park, and find what detail you can pull out of what you see, or better yet, actually go to a park, look around. People watch a while, and describe what you see while trying to describe an emotion.
Until next time… keep writing from the heart!
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)
Why You Should Forget About Most Common Guitar Teacher Advice
- by Tom Hess
Are you tired of earning only a small amount of income from guitar teaching? Wish you had a schedule full of motivated students? Unsure about what you need to do to grow your guitar instruction business? Truth is, most guitar teachers never become successful, nor do they earn a lot of money. However, ALL teachers have the potential to do so...
Designing With Rhyme as Done by Sting and John Mayer
- by Anthony Ceseri
There are many different ways to use rhyme as a strategy to enhance what your lyrics mean. In this article, I want to show you how you can use rhyme to group similar ideas within your lyrics.
Why Independent Artists Need To Understand Perception
- by James Moore
Perception is critical to any independent artist, because artists typically get a 30 second window to impress any festival organizer, promoter, industry person, or new fan. If there is no perceived momentum there, they lose opportunity after opportunity.
A Fond Farewell (For now, anyway) - by Cheryl Mullen
Cheryl was here, now she's gone, gone to live Life On a Song...
Rhyming Is More Than Just Per-Verse -
by Bill Pere
Tight song construction is like building a house--you need to provide reinforcement in each of the three dimensions -- height, width , and depth, to achieve something solid and long lasting. In a song, we usually think of rhymes as being points at the ends of lines that help us remember and anticipate lyrics. But it's much more than that....
Taking Lessons For Guitar? Here's 7 Unfortunate Truths About Your Guitar Teacher -
by Tom Hess
REALITY: Most guitar instructors have never taken the time to develop their teaching skills. Unfortunately, this means you must become their student ‘experiment’ as they learn through trial and error. Before you take another lesson, here are the seven things that your guitar teacher has never told you (that you need to know!)...
|Classifieds & Useful Services
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Be the best songwriter you can be and purchase Lyricist
FREE MELODY WRITING REPORT
Writing a great melody is the #1 component to writing a song your listeners will want to buy, and hear over and over again. If you want some easy ways to improve your melodies to start writing songs your fans will love, check out this FREE report. It'll teach you some great (and simple!) tricks for writing sophisticated and marketable melodies:
For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 7 lines (though I
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