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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 17.11
February 2015

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes & Dan Cohen
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by John Thomas
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - by adventurer and songwriter, Richard Miller.
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: Saying What You Don't Mean To Say by Brad Dunse
* On Site Featured Article - An article (or articles) already online for your viewing pleasure.
* Classifieds & Useful Services
* Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2014 - 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, 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! :-) ) Have a Look!

NEED A NEW WEB HOSTING SERVICE FOR YOURSELF OR YOUR BAND?

I personally use HostDime - and LOVE them. Really. Their service is superb and prompt, they really know what they're doing, you can chat with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and their pricing (The Muse's Muse uses a dedicated server) is very reasonable. Check them out!

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

Write Better Songs with MasterWriter 2.0 - at a New Price!WRITE BETTER SONGS WITH MASTERWRITER 3.0!
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There’s a reason why hit songwriters Gwen Stefani, Rob Thomas, Trent Reznor, David Foster, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and many more all use MasterWriter, it is simply the most powerful suite of songwriting tools ever assembled in one program. Why struggle to find the right word when you can have all the possibilities in an instant?

MasterWriter gives you Rhymes, Close Rhymes, Phrases, Synonyms, Word Families, Pop-Culture, Alliterations, the Definition and more. Also included is an audio recorder and tools that will give you everything you'll need to organize your songs. The new version 3.0 is web–based, so you can leave the house empty–handed and access MasterWriter on any computer, tablet or smart phone, wherever you are.
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Visit http://masterwriter.com/musesmuse to learn more and to receive $15 off a 1-year license or $20 off a 2-year license. You may also sign up for a free 10-day trial. If for any reason you are not satisfied with MasterWriter 3.0, you can get a full refund within 90 days.

“MasterWriter will not only help you write great songs, it will make you a better songwriter in the process.”
–David Foster
“Producers have Pro Tools. Writers have Word. Songwriters have MasterWriter.”
–Rob Thomas

Editor's Musings:

Welcome to the beginning of a new year, folks. I hope it's been going really well for you all so far. Any New Year's resolutions you're intending to keep? (I know that can be a tricky question. ;) ). As for me, my new sound booth is in place, though it needs some "fine tuning" (I'm getting there) - and so far, the new year has been a great one!

And because I like to share my joy, here are the raffle winners for this month. :)

  • Alan Noah, from Rocklin, CA, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Mary Massie, from Charlotte, NC, 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.
  • Larry Coleman from Indianapolis, IN, 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.

DO YOU WANT TO WIN A RAFFLE PRIZE?
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.)

May your February be filled with all things good. :)

All the best,

--Jodi

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

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Drop by for more details and start yourself on the road to improving your vocal chops today.

Music Reviews:

NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE:

Cyrus Rhodes

* The Grey Agents

Dan Cohen

* Charles Szczepanek

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.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Jane Eamon - Genre: FOLK & TRADITIONAL

Firmly grounded in her own skin, Jane Eamon writes about every day things - life and all its glory both good and bad.  Her new CD, Caught in Time is a reflection of leaving her home town and heading out on the road with nothing but an idea of writing music and experiencing life.

Songwriting Book Review By: John Thomas

Speed Songwriting
http://speedsongwriting.com/
by Graham English

Have you ever craved the ability to be able to consistently create good songs? I have, and I know that
many of the best songwriters out there, many who consistently create quality work, have a system of
productivity, a method and process that they use consistently to produce new material.

That is what Graham English gives you in Speed Songwriting: a step-by-step system to consistently crank
out songs.

Some songwriters may be uncomfortable with this approach, specifically those writers whose
songwriting approach is to wait until a spark hits them and then craft the piece from there. This course
is designed for the person who isn’t opposed to the idea of being a craftsman, of having a system to
work through that will allow you to produce a much greater volume of work so that you can weed out
the duds faster to get to the good stuff and also to shortcut the process to more consistently produce
the types of songs that you want.

This being a book review column, let me admit that I broke some rules with this review: this is an online
video-based course with written material that you can print out to use with the course. You will need
internet access and some time to sit down and listen and work through English’s processes as laid out in
the course.

Also, let me point out that, just because this is a system to work through, this does not mean that you
will create cookie-cutter songs. The style of the song and the subject matter will be pieces that you
bring to the table; however, English does have useful suggestions about places to find ideas and ways to
spark your imagination. That’s all part of the system.

English has a 7-step process that he takes you through in the song creation process:

1. Choose a Title, Song Plot, Tempo, and Beat
2. Find 250 Words from the Lyric Triad and Match with Appropriate Mode
3. Find Rhyme Pairs
4. Build a Chorus and Power Progression
5. Choose a Rhyme Scheme, Lyric Triad Pattern
6. Build the Song Sections: Verses, Prechorus, Bridge
7. Edit, Stop Tweaking, and Sort [into good songs, okay songs, and throwaway songs]

Within each of these steps, English goes into greater detail about how to craft your song. For example,
in Step 1, he gives suggestions for places to consistently find emotionally charged words and phrases to
spark song titles, lyric ideas, and storyline (song plot) ideas. In Step 2, he gives you his take on each of
the seven modes and the emotional impact and feel of each mode so that you can begin to gauge a
mode’s emotion in reference to how it will shade the interpretation of the song’s lyrics, much in the same way that vocal inflection conveys straightforward sincerity, aggression, or sarcasm, each of which
can change the meaning of the words said. In Step 6, he details different possible verse structures that
you can use for your song and provides examples of each structure.

All-in-all, I found English’s course to be straightforward and without fluff, and I believe that both
beginning songwriters and seasoned veterans will find helpful and immediately useful information in the
course.

So brew up a pot of good coffee and take some time to sit down and work through Speed Songwriting.

******

John Thomas is a singer, songwriter, and bass player in Macon, Georgia who loves good songs, good coffee, and the company of his beautiful wife and children.

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

THE INDIE BIBLE PRESENTS THE ULTIMATE INDIE BUNDLE!

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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 & http://www.musesmuse.com/markets.html.
Please check there regularly for updates!


INDIE INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITING CONTEST IS NOW OPEN!

The Indie International Songwriting Contest is a song competition to give recognition to some of the best emerging songwriters in the world, help develop their talent, and provide useful tools for developing the success of the artist. More than $77,000 in prizes awarded. Deadline is March 1st, 2015. Pop, Rock, Folk, Americana/Country, Instrumental, and Jazz/Blues genres open. Only accepting the first 150 entries! $30 for Basic Numerical Critique or for $10 more a Written Critique. Learn more at www.indieinternational.com


WILDFLOWER! PERFORMING SONGWRITER CONTEST - NOW ACCEPTING ENTRIES!

The 2015 Wildflower! Performing Songwriter Contest, featuring four $500 cash awards, hotel accommodations for finalists, and a chance to perform on the Courtyard Stage, is now accepting entries. Genres include Acoustic, Americana, Bluegrass, Blues, Celtic, Country, and Folk. This event is open to performing songwriters age 18 and older who must perform at the Wildflower! Festival in Richardson, Texas on May 16, 2015 if chosen as a finalist. Submission deadline is March 1, 2015 and only 300 entries are accepted. For details, visit: http://wildflowerfestival.com/singersongwriter.html or http://www.sonicbids.com/2015-wildflower-festival-performing-songwriter-contest.


UK SONGWRITING CONTEST - Future Music launches new Songwriting Competition!

UK Songwriting Contest: New for 2015, Future Music is launching a UK songwriting contest to find the best songwriters in the UK. The UK songwriting contest will provide the opportunity for both aspiring and established songwriters to get their music heard and potentially get signed. There is also the opportunity to perform in a Grand Final showcase in London in front of A&R who work for the three major record labels.
So, if you think you’ve got what it takes and want your songwriting heard by music industry professionals, enter the songwriting contest here: www.songwritingcompetitionuk.com


2014 WINNERS OF USA SONGWRITING ANNOUNCED, 2015 COMPETITION BEGINS

Two teenage songwriting sister team Justine Dorsey and Kerris Dorsey from Los Angeles win Overall Grand Prize at the 19th Annual USA Songwriting Competition. Kerris Dorsey breaks the previous record of the Youngest Overall Grand Prize winner at just 16 years old. The previous record was held by Sarah Lonsert, also from Los Angeles, 17 years old at that time in 2010.The song has just been signed to Walt Disney Music and appeared in the box office hit movie "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. In it’s landmark 20th year, the 20th Annual USA Songwriting Competition is currently accepting entries from now till May 29, 2015. For more information, visit: http://www.songwriting.net/enter


WOMEN OF SUBSTANCE RADIO: PLAYING THE BEST MUSIC BY FEMALE ARTISTS IN ALL GENRES

Women of Substance Radio is an Internet Radio Station (with our own Mobile App) that has been on the air for 7 years. Our review board hand-picks the BEST music by female artists in all genres from both label artists and Indies. New music is added weekly and promoted on Social Media. We also feature videos on our blog daily. WOSRadio is a unique platform for Female Indie Artists to showcase and promote their music to targeted listeners and music buyers.

Visit: www.WOSRadio.com  / Listen: www.rdo.to/wosradio


SONGWRITER CONNECTION KICKSTARTS YOUR MUSIC CAREER

Songwriter Connect will connect you to established artists near you. We are creating a new platform for songwriters and composers. The main feature will be that we will connect you to established artists near you. We also cater for local, unrecognized singers and bands who are on the lookout for talented and screened songwriters to collaborate on their next project. Register now to be one of the first songwriters on this innovative platform! www.songwriter-connect.com


TUNII.COM:
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 janeeamon@telus.net 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!

Muse's Clues - Richard Miller

©2014-2015 Richard Miller. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

Friendship Refreshed

Last month I mentioned the site MeetUp as a starting point for making contacts and promised to report back this month.  The first thing to do was to map out a strategy.  Songwriting can be a craft - it has its own set of disciplines and technical requirements, but it's also about life and compressing the elements of life into, unless you’re writing opera, a very short piece of work.  Most, if not all, professional songwriters touch on the importance of observation and listening.  Keith Richards prefers to think of himself as an antenna.  Jimmy Buffet regards himself as more of a listener than a writer. And on and on it goes.  So, with this in mind, I took the broad approach of chronicling life’s experiences rather than sticking within the more narrow confines of a songwriter group.

The first, strangely enough, had, at first appearance, nothing to do with music.  It was a group of local entrepreneurs based, in general, in the IT world.  It may sound a strange place to start but regardless of whether you take songwriting as a hobby or a business, it requires discipline and definition.  Inspiration can just happen but it is, usually, a very long way from the initial spark to the finished article and it helps to have a structured approach. One of the best ways of developing a structured approach is to try to explain it to someone outside the discipline.  There is no common understanding to fall back on, short cuts aren’t available and, in this case, IT people are very good at focussing on detail and can ask some pretty direct questions.  Despite the difference in subject area, the group was eager to listen to the process of development within songwriting and music in general.  In turn their stories were equally interesting and it wasn’t as dry as one might think.  Business is about interacting with people and the better ones at it are, interestingly enough, the better listeners.

The second selection was a writers group.  The meeting format is to have a maximum of 10 people come together and cycle through a series of writing prompts.  With each prompt the writers have 15 minutes to come up with a story based on or around the prompt.  It focusses the mind beautifully!  At the end of the 15 minutes those that wish to can read the results out loud.  (All comments must be constructive.)  Not only does it direct the mind inward to dig out or create experiences within a short period of time but the recitation of others is great for generating ideas.  During the first meeting the story of one of the writers sparked a memory of mine, long forgotten, about a piano player shut away in an asylum who could still surface occasionally to relive moments in Music Hall.  How that’s going to get into a song is beyond me at the moment but that’s where the discipline and definition come in.

Finally there’s a musicians group that organise a regular monthly open mic night.  Whoever wants to can spin a couple of songs out and then, for those that can stay, there’s a jam session later.  It is a fantastic place for meeting musicians.  After failing to find anyone to work with in 8 years I managed to strike up two collaborations in one night and there is scope for a lot more.  Everyone was very positive and constructive and the primary focus is on having fun. “All mistakes are intentional”.  The audience listened respectfully, the set up was great and technical advice was plentiful.

Not everyone will have the same degree of luck but I found three good hits in three attempts through MeetUp so I can highly recommend it for trying to make local connections.

In addition to networking it soon became painfully obvious that a return to study would not go amiss.  Casting around I found this site:  Coursera which offers online courses from around the world.  It is, as far as I can see, free to join so to test the waters I’ve enrolled in two courses.  The first is classical composition, on the basis that a bit of theory never hurt anybody, and the second is an  Introduction to Music Production.  They both run for six weeks after which I’ll let you know if they were worthwhile or not.  However, between now and then I’ve got a lot of studying to do so I’d better get cracking.  See you next month.

******

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Richard Miller is a caterpillar who has begun his chrysalis phase. Originally from Maine, Richard has, via a series of mis-adventures and accidents, worked as an accountant in the English Midlands, a systems programmer on the South Coast of England (where he also pursued an illustrious career in rugby) and a statistical programmer in Belgium. Now he has put all that aside, bought a house, stripped it back to the brick and started to renovate it from top to bottom while simultaneously transforming himself from a results oriented automaton into a winged song writer. You can peak inside the chrysalis at: www.vanishingpirates.com.

Featured Article - By Brad Dunse

QUICK TIP: Saying What You Don't Mean To Say

Would you believe a writer could come up with a decent title, the right song form, a well-crafted rhyme pattern, defined sections of the song, and otherwise craft it to the ‘T’; but still have a glaring problem with it?

What’s even more interesting is that something as easy and silly as one trip through the grocery store for everyday products can tell you the answer to what is wrong with such a song. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? It’s true though. A bit exaggerated for the point, but check this out…

We Ain’t No One Night Stand

I’d shop the lover’s market
Every Friday night
I’d whisper to my friend’s
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
I’d play ‘em all for fun
I’d play ‘em all just once
I had it made, but…

There ain’t no new lover tomorrow
There’s no leaving you guilt-free
There ain’t no forgetting you
Babe you’ve captured me
I never had this planned, but…
We ain’t no one night stand
No… we ain’t no one night stand

Okay, besides the obvious fact this guy is about as deep as a driveway puddle baking in a mid-July sun, what do you think is wrong with this type of song content?

Let’s take a quick trip through that grocery store and see if it can teach us something about songwriting like I said earlier. I’ve got to pick up a few things on my list anyway…

Okay… there we go, some bar soap called, Sweat Be Gone, that’s on my list. Can’t wait to shower with that later.

And let’s see, oh yeah I need some of that Rice That Won’t Take An Hour To Cook over there for tonight’s dinner.

Oh, that’s right the little guy needs a pack of Diapers That Won’t Swing Between The Knees. Need a tidy little toddler running around the house you know!

That ought to do it for now. Oh, Is something wrong? Haven’t you heard of those brand names? I didn’t think so, but I bet you’ve heard of Irish Spring soap, Minute Rice, or Huggies though, haven’t you?

So what did our trip to the imaginary store tell us?

There is a reason why successful products are named in a positive pointed way, We don’t see things like Anti-Depression Dish Soap, and we see Joy, lemon fresh Joy in fact. See how our songs could take a little marketing lesson from the grocery store?

This crappy little sample lyric should have been written in the positive, accentuating on how she melted their hearts into one or how he found true love with just one kiss. It’s even okay if it depicts him as a Friday night player and got caught in love doing it, but the chorus should speak to what they are, not what they ain’t.

It should have been titled something like Once Is All It Took, If My Heart Only Knew, or Lifetime Lovers. Anything but, We Ain’t No One Night Stand…pheweeee!

I know some of you might have heard songs like Alvin Bishop’s old tune Fooled Around And Fell In Love or Jason Mraz’s Beautiful Mess and wonder what gives.

Well, besides the fact the former is a songwriter who wrote it for his own performance and recording and wasn’t pitching it to anyone, the title had a clever way of putting an opposite meaning on “fooled around,” turning it into a love focus.

The latter, well, besides being a mega-pop star also writing his own, the song is just honest about loving everything about a lover even though we sometimes have issue with them… the mess it can be at times… but oh how beautiful it is in spite of it all.

It is always best to make the point and support it with the title such as, “I love you so much” side rather than “I don’t hate you at all” side. So, how are your songs stacking up? Got any songs that could use some touching up? Some that could use a little sunshine beamed into them, or are you going to leave them just as cloudless songs?

Until next time… keep writing from the heart!

*****

A performing songwriter, Brad Dunse is  member of ASCAP, NSAI, SongU, and Minnesota Association of Songwriters. His songs have been played on various independent, internet, and public radio stations across the country with The Wall touching a major country market station. Interested in song evaluations? Go to Brad's site for more information.

"ON SITE" FEATURED ARTICLE(S)

Why Teaching Your Guitar Students To Be Creative Is Extremely Important
- by Tom Hess

What is the best way to get tons of new guitar students, make your current students more enthusiastic about learning and make your competition jealous of your success? Answer: being able to turn average students into great musicians. To do this, you MUST teach them to be creative... in fact, this is also a major factor when it comes to making good money as a guitar teacher.

---------

Steve Vais Guitar Playing Can Make YOU A Better Guitar Player... Here's How - Part 1 - by Tom Hess

Steve Vai is undoubtedly one of the world's best guitarists. So how can you use this fact to make YOU a better guitar player? Hint: the answer is NOT "learning Steve Vai solos" or "looking up Steve Vai tabs". This is because these things will never allow you to the learn from the REASONS that Vai is great. If you can understand these reasons, you can use them to become a better guitar player yourself.

Classifieds & Useful Services

LEARN HOW TO PLAY GUITAR WITH GuitarMasterClass.net AND START COMPOSING YOUR OWN SONGS NOW!

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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 -EXTRAS: Gear-, singing-, recording-, bass-, piano- and drum lessons. GMC Theory Grimoire eBook !!!


Special for Muse's Muse visitors: 
Get a $10 discount for your first month of subscription!


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 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 www.musesmuse.com/vss-review.html!)

This tool will revolutionize the way you write and organize your writing.
Be the best songwriter you can be and purchase Lyricist today!


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:


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Contact Info & Credits

Jodi Krangle, Editor: editor@musesmuse.com

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 editor@musesmuse.com. All articles copyrighted by their authors.

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