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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 17.3
June 2014

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes
* 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: Are Your Songs Plucked Daisies ... or a Musical Bouquet? 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.


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!


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 2.0 - NEW PRICE!
(And Muse's News readers *still* get a special discount!)

Looking for something really special for that songwriter in your life? (Maybe it's you!) MasterWriter 2.0 is the most powerful suite of songwriting tools ever assembled in one program. MasterWriter is endorsed by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, NSAI and is used by some of the world's leading songwriters including Gwen Stefani, Rob Thomas, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Jimmy Webb, Kenny Loggins, Trent Reznor, Clint Black, and many more.

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.

Editor's Musings:

Hi guys! I hope you've had a wonderful May! I'll be at a cottage for a bit at the end of this month so I'm keeping this short to make sure I can get this out to you on time. :) Things have been great on this end and I'm happy to report that the warmer weather seems here to stay. Yay!

Here are the raffle winners this month:

  • Alice Hesselrode, from Ferndale, MI, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Amy Conley, from Milford, NH, 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.

  • Ann Meadows from Roanoke Rapics, NC, 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.

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.)

I hope you all have the most wonderful June! Gotta say - one of my favorite months of the year. Enjoy! :)

All the best,


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.

The package includes 12 audio CDs (packed with 17 repeatable lessons, including both technique--the simple, yet powerful exercises, and style lessons for building vocal licks and trills); a workbook for illustration; and a DVD for visual reference and demonstration. It's a complete course - and it has a money-back guarantee!

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

Music Reviews:


Cyrus Rhodes:

* Tom Goss
* Ken Schick

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.



Creating a unique sound, the super hot &  exciting new neo soul duo Mello Mello is destined to touch hearts and minds everywhere with their debut album An Abstract Love Story.The vocals vacillate between a smooth, Usher-like sound and a more intelligent and complex Outkast sound says Neufutur Magazine.

Songwriting Book Review By: John Thomas

We're taking a momentary pause...

Due to unforseen circumstances, John won't be able to get his review in this month. But check in next month for that review - and an opportunity to win a copy of the book he reviews, if you're so inclined (write to me to let me know you're interested in receiving it, using the method detailed in the Musings above!). :) Thanks for your patience, folks!


John Thomas is a singer, songwriter, bass player, and occasional guitarist living in Macon, Georgia.

Most recently, when he’s not actively writing and playing bass, he’s drinking coffee and wondering how
to perfectly mold a pop vocal melody over a jazz improv bass line.

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


This is incredible offer that allows artists to gain access to $340 worth of music directories for only $59.95.

The ULTIMATE Indie Bundle consists of this year's edition of The Indie Bible, The Indie Venue Bible and Indie Bible ONLINE as well as a copy of next year's Indie Bible ... all for only $59.95! Over 50,000 music listings in all including Radio Stations, Music Magazines, Venues, Labels, Distributors and much more!

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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 &
Please check there regularly for updates!

Jason Blume & Mary Gauthier: 2 Incredible Songwriting Mentors in One Amazing Place

All-inclusive means 14 chef-prepared meals, beverages, snacks, daily social hour, all songwriting workshops and master classes, a 1-on-1 with one of our songwriting mentors, full use of our resort amenities and if it book by May 31st......a free whitewater rafting adventure! Early bird pricing starting from $799 for Camping and $899 for lodging for the 6 day/5 night retreat. Mary Gauthier & Jason Blume Retreat:

"First, Measure Your Songwriting Ability. Then Improve It."

All-inclusive 4-day/3-night event with camping in own tent or RV + 9 meals + socials + drinks.Choose to add lodging to this package, see website for prices. Early-Bird Pricing: Base rate: $595 US pp. Wayne Chase Intensive:
Combine both retreats (this one and REO above) for an unbelievable week at our private and secluded river’s edge resort July 2014.  To make a reservation call: 1-800-736-72381-800-736-7238 or email

A REVOLUTIONARY NEW WAY TO SHARE AND PROMOTE MUSIC 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!


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.


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 to schedule a class.


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 Richard Miller. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

Hello again.  One of the first things I noticed while wandering around the Muse website was the wealth of talent and experience of the members.  For someone relatively new to songwriting taking on this monthly column can, therefore, be a daunting task.  Most people using this site are already very well informed and the chances of finding something new to everyone is likely to be remote.  Having said that the simple approach, which is the only one I’m capable of, can provide helpful reminders from time to time.

Following on from last month’s theme of finding the rhythm around us it seemed logical to continue in that vein and search for inspiration and guidelines to improve internalisation.  There’s a good article by Mel Martin in Jazz Times on this very subject.  He does get a bit cerebral, at least it was for me, but his comments in the last paragraph about rhythm and internalisation really struck a chord (if you’ll forgive the pun).

Another article by Chris Krushar called Developing Musical Instincts: Internalising the Music provides some practical tips as well as further references for developing ways to internalise music.  If his About page is correct and he truly started out life as a professional wrestler then I’m not one to argue with him.  There’s also a little MP3 from that pretty much reiterates Krushar’s message.

Getting the inspirations was fairly easy but trying to find an application that may help the process, after all this is about doing something not reading about it, proved much more elusive.  There are sites which offer trivial exercises but not much more than that.  Anyone can create their own little exercises at home and they would probably be much better focussed.  Then it occurred to me that I had the answer literally at my finger tips.

I’ve been using an application called Transcribe! for near enough 10 years.  First and foremost let me say that I have no commercial or financial connection with the product or individual that sells it.  I am not part of the affiliate program but I do find it extremely useful.  It does come at a price but the price is reasonable for what you get and there is a free trial period so you don’t have to splash out straight away.

Basically I started using the software to learn songs I wanted to play.  You can isolate sections of the sound spectrum, for example strip out all but the bass frequencies, raise the tuning an octave so it easier to hear, and study the bass line.  You can isolate sections of a tune, slow them down with little or no distortion to the original sound and practice sections.  I’ll do this with my own songs when trying to work out lead lines and when I want to give myself a little extra time to react to the basic melody, tempo or mood as it develops.  Quite often these days I’ll listen to a song a few times in the morning, get it running through my head all day and then sit down in the evening to start to work out how to play it from memory.  It doesn’t always come out perfect but oftentimes what does come out is highly entertaining and fun.

This software is only available for desktops and laptops.  It is not available for tablets and smart phones.  This is in part because a number of the features would be lost in getting the application to operate on these platforms and there are already plenty of alternatives that may suffice.  A short list (unannotated) of these can be found on the SeventhString site.

So if you think something like this may help build your chops, get over a particularly difficult case of writer’s block or simply study (and internalise) a piece of music you like then give it a try.  Everything you need to know is here:  SeventhString.


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:

Featured Article - By Brad Dunse

QUICK TIP: Are Your Songs Plucked Daisies ... or a Musical Bouquet?

What comes to your mind when you think of rubber bands?

 Decades ago a colloquialism of love depicted a gentleman holding a daisy in one hand and the other plucking one petal at a time while saying …

“She loves me, she loves me not… she loves me… she loves me not…”

The last petal plucked gave fate wings on whether she actually loved him or not; sort of a ‘Russian roulette with Cupid’s bow’ kind of thing.

Ever feel similar with your songs and a listener? Perhaps from past experiences of one person saying, “That is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long, long time!” And then another saying, “It’s okay, but honestly, AABA type songs are old school and just aren’t in anymore”

What’s up with that? Same song, but two totally different views leaving you plucking daisies wondering…

“They’ll love it, they’ll love it not, they’ll love it, they’ll love it not…”

What things have you heard about your songs? Things like…

• 4.5-minutes is too long to hold a listener’s attention today.

• A word like “unfurled” just isn’t used anymore.

• AABA songs don’t sell anymore, re-write it to a Verse-Chorus tune.

• Spoken bridges are from the 70’s.

• What was that section between the bridge and the chorus? That doesn’t follow normal song structure.

• Your song is a bit too specific, not universal enough.

• That’s too obscure of a topic.

• You’ve got too limit your vocal to an octave plus three notes.

All those comments are 100% right, they are also 100% wrong, why?

It depends on the target for that particular song, or even the type of writer you are. Besides the fact that a person could write for a specific industry, we encounter a great divide between radio or non-radio songs or writers.

Do you write with a goal of getting radio hits or what we call song cuts? Or do you write for you the artist and want to say what you want to say?

Do you write for an audience that comes to an intimate listening room to experience in-depth topical songs, or for an audience that wants to sing along on the drive at five? There is a difference in the two types of writing. Which do you favor? Which do you aspire to be?

Many commercially goal orientated writers still write non-commercial songs, and there are also some non-commercially minded writers who write songs that get cut by indie or commercial artists, but it is very helpful to think of what your goal is as a writer for a particular song.

If you write for your own shows, to say what you feel you want said, have no intention of writing for radio, and find your audience is enjoying what you are writing? Then holding to rules like keep it to 3.5 minutes, stick to verse-chorus-verse chorus-bridge-chorus, always present the singer in good light, keep vocals under an octave plus three-notes, and other commercially-minded rules may not be limiters for you.

Conversely, if you’re writing for radio, using out-of-date phrases or words, too complicated of a melody structure, too many verses, going much beyond the 3.5 minute mark, and other proven commercial no-no’s isn’t a good idea for you either.

Take a good look at your reason for writing. Do you want to try breaking into the clad-iron staff writer positions or pitch to artists? Do you want to write to a unique industry you know a lot about? Do you want to be a performing songwriter with intentions of performing in front of intimate groups of people looking to hear non-radio type songs?

What you decide for any particular song, or you as a writer, will help you discern the comments you will get on your songs, and more importantly the type of listener giving them.

If a commercially-minded professional or fan is listening to your Ballad of Modern Day Slavery, they will probably crinkle up their face. Don’t take it personal, because an indie artist connoisseur with ideals on the human condition sitting right next to them might look on intently nodding in hair-raising approval of every line sung.

Find out who you are as a writer and what your song’s goal is, and line up your audience accordingly.

Save the plucked daisy guesswork for those wondering whether their next door neighbor loves them or not, and make your song a bouquet that bursts with your personal goal and satisfied listeners.

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.


The Best Way To Practice Guitar And Eliminate Mistakes - by Tom Hess

The greatest guitar players and the worst guitar players are all the same in that they share one common goal: they want to ‘play it correctly’. When you use effective guitar practice techniques, you eventually gain confidence and look forward to learning new skills. This is great except for one thing... After you begin seeing progress (and want to move your skills to a very high level – such as performing live), you will often feel a lot of anxiety around making mistakes that will cause many problems for you.


How To Play Badass Lead Guitar Licks, Part Two: Creative Bend Application
- by Tom Hess

Boring guitar solos are usually NOT the result of a lack of musical talent or technical skill. Instead, you will struggle to play killer guitar solos when you use the same process for improving your solos every time. For example, here are the two most common ways guitar players try to make their solos sound better...


The Music Career Questions That Lead To Failure - by Tom Hess

Every day I receive messages in my inbox from musicians asking me how they can build their music careers. Maybe 1% of these questions are ‘good’ questions... all the others are built from totally misguided assumptions and myths about how the music industry works. Although some of these questions may ‘seem’ like good questions, they actually achieve highly destructive effects on a musician’s mindset that lead him/her far away from their musical goals...

Classifieds & Useful Services


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: 
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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!)

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


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 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.

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