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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 17.4
July 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 You Cannibalizing Your Song? 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!)

Brett Manning's Singing Success

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

Editor's Musings:

Hello again for another month, my friends. Enjoying the first days of summer? I can certainly say that I am! WOW am I happy to be enjoying the warmer weather. And it's just beautiful north of Toronto at this time of year. Of course, the traffic is really horrible ... but you take the good with the bad. ;)

I have some really inspiring articles for you this time around, so I hope you'll stick around. In the meantime, here are the raffle winners for this month:

  • Stuart Roholt, from Austin, TX, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Carolyn Hawkins, from Cocoa, FL, 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.

  • Kimberly Greene from NYC, NY, 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.)

Enjoy the summer and get out there to experience new things. You never know what will inspire your next song. :)

All the best,

--Jodi

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

THE INDIE BIBLE PRESENTS THE ULTIMATE INDIE BUNDLE!

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!

Click here for details and to order online.

Music Reviews:

NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE:

Cyrus Rhodes:

* David Pedrick

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.

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

Melissa Auf der Maur - Genre: ROCK

For her second solo album “Out of Our Minds” Melissa wanted a more diverse album than her first. She made a creative promise to herself to try new things. For example: For the first time, she wrote a song for someone else’s voice and persona: “Father’s Grave” her duet with one of her teenage heroes Glenn Danzig. She pushed herself to write songs starting with different root sources: the bass, the piano, autoharp, lyrics, melody, guitar, a drum beat. She also made a commitment to herself to return to her visual and conceptual art roots, and make an accompanying “Out of Our Minds” fantasy film and comic.

Songwriting Book Review By: John Thomas

Strong Songwriting
by Morgan Cryar

What can a guy who didn't write his first song until he was 20 teach you about writing songs of your
own?

When that guy has had #1 radio hits and has worked on Music Row in Nashville for years, quite a lot.
And that guy, if you hadn't guessed, is Morgan Cryar who has had #1 radio hits in his chosen niche and
has worked with labels and as CEO of a musician training company for numerous years, as well.

Cryar defines songwriting as three things: “1) a Set of Skills you can learn and hone, 2) a Business that
can make you a grand living; and 3) an "Inner Game" that you must master,” and, in his book “Strong
Songwriting,” he aims to teach you all three sets of skills.

One thing I appreciated about this book, more so than many that I've read, is that the amount of work
that a professional puts into writing quality songs isn't glossed over or minimized. Cryar doesn't make
the end result come across as unattainable; however, he doesn't make it sound like it's as simple and
easy as falling off of a log, either. If you put in the effort, you'll get the results, but you will have to put
in the sweat equity.

I also like that his principles and techniques are practical and put the focus where they need to be if you
want success, whether you define success in financial terms or in terms of moving the listener
powerfully. Many (maybe most) songwriters start writing for the joy of writing. This isn't a bad reason
to write songs; however, if you want a career as a songwriter, or if you want to powerfully move
listeners, then the focal point of at least some of your writing is how it captures the listeners attention
and moves the listener.

So, Cryar digs deep into what is in it for the listener to take the time to listen to your song. As he puts
it, listeners don't want a song; they want the feeling that the song gives to them. And then he gives you
tools to work with to grab the listeners attention, to keep it, and to move your listener emotionally.
These tools include planning your song, what to write about, finding your melody, how to involve your
listener in your song, and how to keep them involved. He goes deep into word choice and language use
along with the bigger overall purpose for which these words are used.

Also, as promised, Cryar digs into how to care for your inner muse and work with your inner world to
bring out the songs that make an impact. He covers “fear bashing” and the two sides of your
personality necessary to create compelling songs as well as how to cure writer's block. Then, to be sure
he's thorough, Cryar also covers the business side of songwriting by discussing subjects like how to get
your song heard by publishers and labels and how to make the most impact with showcases and
songwriter's nights.

If you're willing to put in the time and use the tools Cryar gives you in this book (not to mention the
bonus reports and even the introduction to the book that haven't even begun to be addressed in this
review), you'll see results in your songwriting that will move you light years ahead of where you are
now.

Pour yourself a good cup of coffee, pull out your favorite writing instrument (and a pen and paper), and sit down with this book to make your work “Strong 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!)

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 !!!


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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!


APOGEE'S "STAR SPANGLED JAMMER" CONTEST

July 4th is around the corner, and we at Apogee want you to show us your patriotism. As a proud Made in the USA manufacturer, Apogee is launching a special “Star Spangled Jammer” video contest and giving away an Apogee JAM to 10 talented musicians across the globe. From now through July 6th, enter to win by submitting a video of YOUR original version of “The Star Spangled Banner” to Twitter or Instagram.

Link to Contest Details:
http://www.apogeedigital.com/blog/star-spangled-jammer-video-contest

Link to Apogee:
http://www.apogeedigital.com


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


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. Deadline is July 15th, 2014. Singer-songwriter genre 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


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@shaw.ca 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 Richard Miller. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

Creativity

One of the things that come with age should be experience.  As experience is collected the chances of stumbling across something truly new and exciting recedes.

For example a young person may react to a new (or morphed) musical style or artist with nothing but unbridled enthusiasm and wonder at the creativity.  I still have in my mind’s eye an image of myself as a young boy sitting on the living room floor and gaping at a flickering black and white image of The Beatles as they performed on The Ed Sullivan Show.  I felt as if as if I’d been plugged straight into national grid and it is fair to say my life changed forever.

Now, after 50 years of listening to and playing music my reactions to a new artist or style are far too often one, some or all of the following:

  • “That sounds very similar to…”
  • “That’s the same chord progression and rhythm as….”
  • “Those lyrics are almost identical to….”
  • “Doesn’t sound too bad but so and so did it better in….”
  • “They say this is new but I can hear echoes from this, that and the other.  It isn’t new at all.  It’s really just a small evolutionary step away from something I’ve already heard.”

Not only is there a wealth of historical music to contend with but the power of the internet has made it possible for millions to pursue their songwriting dreams.  It left me pondering the question how can I find a way to inject some true creativity into my art.

Off I went pestering the various search engines for sites and ideas on stimulating creativity.  Sadly I have to say that a lot of it appeared to me to be either trite, insipid or just a medium for selling another vacuous self help book.  Undoubtedly this is in part due to my personality.  Having spent many years as a Statistical Programmer my practical side dominates and I have little patience for airy fairy folks who string long sequences of four or more syllable words together, wave their hands expressively, stare into space (rather than address their audience) and say nothing.

Eventually though I did manage to find a few.  The first is MindTools.  This site is really designed for business people so not everything is relevant to artistic creativity.  Also it is a subscription site and the membership price was more than I cared to part with at this point in time.  Having said that there is still enough free stuff that can be relevant to artistic creativity if you look hard enough.

Another site I found was Talent Development.  Stumbling across this site and hitting various links reminded me of the time I visited Hampton Court and walked around the maze.  It’s full of twists and turns and rich in stories and profiles (both inside and outside the world of music) that can provide inspiration for developing creativity.

Also I found this article containing tips from Brian Eno.  He isn’t my favourite artist.  In fact I find it difficult to listen to most things he does however there is no doubt that he is extremely talented and creative. The download link for the e-book failed when I tried it but the article itself was pretty good and offered some good ideas on how to shake up the thought process.

Finally I had an experience recently which was instrumental in stimulating my creative thought processes.  I am renovating our house.  Everything had been planned meticulously and was going more or less smoothly when a huge tax demand fluttered through the door that virtually wiped out the entire budget.   The downside is that things are a lot tougher now but the up side is that this has stimulated a wealth of creative thought as I try to work out how to complete the work.  I wouldn’t wish adversity on anybody but it really came home this week that if necessity is the mother of invention then adversity can be the mother of creativity.  As an exercise try doing without and see what kind of a solution it stimulates.

******

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: Are You Cannibalizing Your Song?

So, you’re writing a tune, and it’s a good one…. The best you ever wrote!

Aren’t they all when you are to that point of having just written and maybe just tweaking things? Of course they are, and rightly so.

It’s written, but you want to tweak a few things. Maybe get some of the vocal stresses on the right words, take out a stumbler word here or there, remove some of the ‘ands,’ ‘that’s,’ or ‘froms.’

Years ago they would call that harlanizing a song.

What is harlanizing? It’s a term based off a hugely successful country songwriter back in the day, Harlan Howard. Harlan had 15-songs on the charts at one time at one point of his career… amazing.

Unfortunately Harlan is no longer with us, but he was known for honing his lyrics to a very effective point using minimal words; that is a wonderful thing to do, but what happens when you have done that, and then fall prey to lyrical cannibalism? You know, chew your song to bits trying to improve it, or if not your lyric, your time?

What do I mean? Here’s a little example.

What if I wrote the following lyrics, which since I’m writing this article... not surprising, I did write them.

She lit up like a Mason jar full of Lightning Bugs
When she talked about her man

That’s kind of a cool simile. Very urban or countryesque, and gets the point across, she really digs her man, I like it.

Now, after ”harlanizing” my song, what if I was to start taking things past the point of effective use of time? What if I were to start getting so picky to where I think, “Hmm, I think I can tweak that line better. Let’s try…”

She lit up like a Mason jar stuffed with August Lightning Bugs
When she talked about her man

Yeah, ‘stuffed’ that’s a better word, and August is more detail… cool. But wait, what about…

Like a jar of August Lightning Bugs
She lit up talking about her man

Reversing those lines kind of works too, yeah I like it. But hey, what about…

She lit up like a bolt of midnight lightning
When they talked about her man

There we go, a more jarring sensation and an inner rhyme too, that’s cool. Hang on a second… I’ve got it!

Like lightning filling a midnight sky
Her eyes lit up talking about her man

Yeah let’s mention her eyes, a little more imagery.

Oh now and here’s one…

STOP!

Don’t fall for this kind of writing. While it is good to tweak and turn a phrase, spending time pining over a line or two that when said and done makes absolutely no difference to the imagery or strength to the song is counterproductive. You are just arguing with yourself over semantics. It can seem like you are really chasing the song down good in the moment, but experience will tell you, you’re just chasing your own tail.

Not only do you waste time, you risk weakening your song to a point of cannibalizing its wonderful creative flow.

So, pay attention to that sweet spot of time when you know that for what your song is, it’s as good as it will get having been written, tweaked, and rewritten, and leave the meat on the bones of your song.

Tweaking is good but over editing will drive you nuts and even if you are a freak like me who loves the process of re-writing as much as the creative flow when actually writing, you’ll frustrate yourself if you overdo it.

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 Can't Attract Guitar Students During The Summer - by Tom Hess

Chances are, you already understand that the summer is the slowest season for being contacted by potential guitar students. This makes earning a good living teaching guitar very challenging for most teachers. However, unlike most guitar teachers, YOU will be filling up your teaching schedule during the summertime. To do it, you just need to understand the right approaches to take...

-----

Why General Guitar Speed Building Advice Fails & What You Should Do Instead - by Tom Hess

Most guitarists in the world are unable to play flawlessly at extremely high speeds because they approach guitar practice in one of two ways...

-----

How To Play Awesome Lead Guitar Solos Pt. 3 - The Secret To Playing Emotional Solos - by Tom Hess

Learn the secrets of playing guitar solos with intense emotion by reading this article.

Classifieds & Useful Services

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:


ADVERTISING RATES:
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: editor@musesmuse.com.

Click here for Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities.

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.

Back issues and other information will be available here.

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

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