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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 18.4
July 2015

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Tim Zbikowski
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - by adventurer and songwriter, Richard Miller.
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: Stephen King and Songwriting? 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 1998-2015 - 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 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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“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:

Hello again for another month, my friends. :) And it's summer. I LOVE summer around here. Could so do without winter, but summer is fantastic. It's nice and lushly green too, though that does mean there's been a lot of rain lately. That's ok. I far prefer the rain to the snow. I hope you're all enjoying the weather, wherever you happen to be!

Ok. Now that my obligatory talk about the weather is over with (come on. You expected it, right? :) ) - I'll mention once more that my CD is now officially launched. I'm really happy with how it turned out and I hope you'll take a moment to check out more information here, if you're so inclined. There's a video sampler of all of the songs on the album, so you can pretty much tell in less than five minutes, if any of the songs will appeal to you.

So now we move on to the raffle winners! (And thanks again for subscribing, guys!) They are:

  • Mary Walker, from Astoria, NY, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Andrew Bishko, from Buffalo, MO, 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.

DO YOU WANT TO WIN A RAFFLE PRIZE? You don't get if you don't ask!
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 wish you all every success!

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

* Mondo Art's Music Factory

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.


Jodi Krangle - Genre: JAZZ

Jodi Krangle and Chris Conway have collaborated for over 15 years, and have sung together on stages in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. Time Will Tell features songs they have co‐written and those they have composed individually, as well as standards and cover songs they both love and were keen to perform together. Over those past 15 years, Jodi and Chris have often wondered if they would ever make an album together. They used to say "time will tell," and now - at last - it has.

(I've never really used this spot to promote my own stuff before, so I hope you'll forgive my indulgence. :) If you're interested in a free copy in exchange for a review, feel free to contact me!)

Songwriting Book Review By: Tim Zbikowski

How to Write a Song that will Get Played on the Radio
by Jonny Fox

Jonny Fox introduces “How to Write a Song that will Get Played on the Radio” by telling you up front he’s never written a hit song.  However, he has written songs which received radio air time.  He’s offering a bit of advice from his experience.

Fox’s first chapters deal with musical trends and how to do the research, especially trends in the genre you write.  For example, you’d better be up to date on the current charts.  He advises identifying what it is that makes you like a song.  Research the great songwriters.

Fox goes on to describe his process of creating a song.  He notes everyone has their own approach and it’s good to try different methods.  Fox explains he usually writes alone, but has learned things by co-writing and you should be open to it.

In his songwriting, Fox usually starts with the chorus.  He explains it must sum up the idea of the song, and goes on to describe its features and techniques you can use to make a great chorus.

Fox includes a chapter describing song structure with attention to the most used form of popular songs.  He advises you have your song critiqued by someone other than a family member who will of course tell you it’s great.  Fox recommends obtaining a good producer and again getting feedback.  He concludes by offering readers of his book a discount on his song critique services.

“How to Write a Song that will Get Played on the Radio” is a short essay on songwriting and an easy read.  It won’t cost you much and you’ll read it start to finish in one sitting.  Write on!


Tim Zbikowski is an active member of the Minnesota Association of Songwriters, assisting with song critiques and presentations on songwriting. His introduction to music was piano lessons in the early 1960’s.  In his teens, he played drums in a garage band and in school band programs. Tim bought his first personal computer in 1984 and by the 1990’s connected a keyboard to a computer. When notes appeared on a staff on the monitor, he was hooked forever!  Tim is a free-lance audio engineer, seriously studies the craft of songwriting, is a member of ASCAP, and enjoys writing and composing in multiple genres.  He plays percussion in an Americana group called Squirrels in the Attic.

Sponsor Message:
(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 &
Please check there regularly for updates!


The Great American Song Contest features awards for 50 winners in 10 categories and provides $10,000 in Prizes. Entrants receive written song evaluations from music-industry judges, including publishers, music producers and recording artists. This international event is open to songwriters, lyricists and composers around the world and sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere. Submission deadline is November 20, 2015.
For details, visit:


Kevin Beadles won top honors for his original song "This Might Get Loud." First-Place category winners were Jodee Lewis for "In the End" (Americana/Folk); Ryan Gelber for "Dangerous Mix Of Chemicals" (Adult Contemporary); Paul Pelc for "Magnolia Mae" (Singer-Songwriter); Lauren Brombert for "Once Bitten (Never Enough)" (Rock); Justin Froese & Nancy Montgomery for "Finally Here" (Christian/Gospel); Jason Afable & Paul Stephens for "Just Pretty" (Country); Lou DeAdder & Leo Sullivan for "Aftermath" (Instrumental); Denyse Tontz for "Mr. Hipster" (Pop); Debra Gussin & Don Grady for "Don't React" (Special Category Music); Cody Qualls for "Focus On Your Rap Game" (HipHop/R&B) and Martin Robley for "Ships" (Lyric Writing).

You can hear these winning songs on the Great American Song Hall Of Fame at:


The International Music Software Trade Association (IMSTA), a non-profit organization hosts IMSTA FESTA in Chicago on Saturday, July 25, 2015 at SAE Institute, 820 N. Orleans Street, Chicago. IMSTA’s principal mission is to conduct public education about piracy in the music software space.

The FREE event is open to music makers of all genres and levels including songwriters and music technology professionals, semi professionals, amateurs, hobbyists, students and educators. Take master workshops, experience new products, network with industry pros.

Aspiring songwriters in any genre are invited to enter a songwriting contest by July 4, 2015. Chicago regional winners announced at IMSTA FESTA. Click here to learn more about contest rules or how to enter radio ready songs. Winner of the International song competition will have the chance to win a FREE trip to BlackRock Studios in Santorini, Greece. 

Admission is FREE but all attendees must register at


A maximum of 20 songwriters will gather again on the beautiful Aran island of Inisheer, County Galway, for a week of 'Community Through Co-Writing' - with writers signed up thus far from Canada, Denmark, Germany, Portugal and Sweden. Particpants will co-write with a new partner daily, exploring varied approached to the writing process meant to expand their craft - with a focus on 'tools, not rules'.

Over 1000 songwriters from more than 20 countries have participated in Listening Rooms since 2002, from established pros seeking new inspiration to those just starting out - with numerous participants going on to tour, record and release songs in several countries as a direct result of the relationships established in these special weeks.

The Ireland week is priced at 875 Euros ($975. at current exchange rates), inclusive of workshops, housing, meals, two concerts and local transport to and from the island via Galway. Additional savings are possible through the Retreat Referral Program, where writers who successfully encourage new participants to attend receive an additional 75€. off the event price, and monthly, interest free payments are also available in order to help make participation a reality.

Further information is available at or by writing directly to retreats founder/leader Brett Perkins:

"As a professional songwriter for over 25 years I have participated in, and facilitated, many writing workshops. It's my pleasure to attest that the Listening Room retreat I attended was the most enjoyable and productive of them all."Tom Kimmel (Johnny Cash. Shawn Colvin, Joe Cocker)


If you want to know the exact songwriting components used in songs people actually want to download and own, this free 4 Part Songwriting Video Series will teach you just that. The videos even come with cheat sheets for you to use as an easy reference next time you’re writing a song. Start watching the FREE songwriting videos (and download your cheat sheets) by clicking here.


Jumpstart your music licensing career in the 180 Day Music Licensing Challenge led by Berklee College of Music Alumnus Aaron Davison. This six month long course on how to license your music in tv and films includes one on one coaching, daily licensing leads, in depth video tutorials, a member's forum and much more! Visit this website for more information.


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:  / Listen:


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!

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

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

A Little Help From A Friend

The holiday in Wales, as may have been mentioned earlier, was fantastic.  It was there that a sound, which had been building inside for a while, really came out.  It’s a joy to play and singing with it may well be unearthly.  So there’s an inspiration.  Now, how to make it real?

Undoubtedly there are a number of ways but, like any good recipe, a few basic ingredients are always necessary.  The best music comes out when heart and soul are laid bare and that takes belief, belief in what you’re doing.  There are those that are blessed with belief and then there’s the rest of us.  So at first it seemed like a good idea to look for a teacher to help gain confidence in the belief and that’s how this article started, but then it hit a couple of curves.

It wasn’t hard to find an online teacher however, after a few chats it began to dawn on me that a teacher wasn’t really what I was after.  The goal was not to be shown how to develop the ideas that crystallised in Wales.  That, I needed to work out for myself.  But it would have been nice to have a sounding board to make sure the work is based on solid foundations and no fundamentals had been forgotten.  So it struck me that a mentor of some sort may be a good idea.  Off I went in search.

The first article I hit, How to Find a Mentor, drew rather a different conclusion then the title would lead you to believe.  The author appears to suggest that a close knit circle, either friends, colleagues or a combination of the two, working together as a small mastermind group would offer similar or better benefits.

Being a stubborn old cuss I decided to plough ahead regardless and came across this website: Find a Mentor and thought it worth a punt.  However, my initial search in the Arts and Entertainment area was fruitless and after another fifteen minutes of digging around it began to dawn that perhaps the author of the first article may well have been right.  So the question turned to viable alternatives to mentoring.  Using peer groups, for example music and songwriting forums touched upon in previous articles, is of course a very good idea but something inside began nagging that the idea of a mastermind group would be a better way to develop a specific idea of set of ideas.

However, all the mastermind articles and web sites I could find seemed to be oriented towards business and how to become the next dot com phenom.  That aside there were a number of general principles, useful for the development of business, that could be applied towards the development of music.  This article from Lifehack was as good as any and it seemed to me that even though the primary focus appeared to be dedicated to becoming incredibly rich there is no reason why musicians couldn’t take some of the same concepts and put them to use to develop music.  After all, we musicians have been stealing from each other for centuries why shouldn’t we steal from others too?  It’s only fair.


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: Stephen King and Songwriting?

Boy, the title sounds horrific alone.

What songs would Stephen write? Goth, Death Metal, Heavy Metal?

Why mention him? I’ll tell you, but first see if you recognize these song titles:

0000F Than RPG 000,000,255

“We Didn’t Start the State, Process, or Instance of Combustion in Which Fuel or Other Material is Ignited”

And finally…

“Attractive Female”

There actually is a point to those ridiculous titles.

But first, why Stephen King?

I finally picked up a copy of Stephen’s book entitled, “On Writing.” Okay, so I’m a bit late to the party on that one.

As I’m reading, I’m spotting many principles of songwriting in his book.

One that stood out to me was his example of an image of a rabbit chewing a carrot in an aquarium sized cage with a number 8 inked on its back.

Stephen’s point was that we all have our own detail of that image. Some might see the pink nose and outline of its eyes. Others see a different color cloth it is sitting on. Others might see a glass cage, a steel cage, or a wire cage.

Specific detail was purposefully left out. For instance, the cage was stated as an aquarium sized cage.  If the image was described as a two-feet six inch long by fourteen-inch high by sixteen-inch deep aquarium, that’d be more like an instructional manual than imagery.

What does this have to do with songwriting?

Remember those crazy titles I listed?

The first one with all those wacky numbers is really Bluer Than Blue by Michael Johnson.

How simple are those three words. The word ‘blue’ taking up two-thirds of the real-estate even. In case you wondered, the 0000FF is the hex code for blue and 000,000,255 is the RGB code for the color blue.

It’d be ludicrous to put that kind of detail in a title, right?

The second title was Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire. You now see I put in a definition of the word ‘fire’ in there.

And the last is just the old classic, Pretty Woman stated in more formal terms.

Can you imagine Roy Orbison or David Lee Roth singing…

“Attractive female, walking down the street
Attractive female, the kind I’d like to meet…”

Yeah, right… talk about your lyrical horror.

Obviously, I’m exaggerating the point here, but the trick is to have just enough visual elements to invite a listener’s own mental imagery in our lyrics. Our whole point of writing is to have others “get what we’re saying,” right? And in order to do that we need to get them into our songs, right? So what better way than to get them drawn in with their own images?  Let them expand and take ownership of their own images you’ve outlined for them.

They’ll take more ownership of your song, and ultimately it will be more memorable for them.

So, rather than a lyric line saying…

“Her BBQ stained Robin’s egg blue jeans were frayed at the knee and her long curly brunette hair was 10-days from a good shampoo”

Maybe say…

The wind tossed her matted hair along with the fray in her stained jeans

Why make it harder for your listener to follow too much detail. Why not let them paint their own natural image?

What happens in a blink of the listener’s mind’s eye is far more time efficient and stronger than anything we can write. It is all about imagery, not necessarily description.

Check out the lyrics to the classic tune, City of New Orleans. Notice how much imagery Steve Goodman got in that tune without describing the trains that had no names or the rusty automobiles in the first verse. He could have elaborated, but then time would have run out even on this longer folk-pop tune.

As you imagine your lyric’s video images in your mind, look for the nominal detail, the more animated version. Think a bit more Charlie Brownish than Lion King when it comes to elements of detail in your lyrics.

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.


Why You Are Not Making Progress In Your Guitar Playing & How To Start Improving - by Tom Hess

Does this scenario sounds familiar?: learning to play guitar at a higher levels, required you to practice various guitar skills and techniques for months or even years. Yet after invested all this hours into practicing, you still lose your bearings when playing in front of others, improvising, or recording music.


How To Play Excellent Lead Guitar Licks & Solos By Developing Better Musical Creativity - by Tom Hess

Do you know many guitar licks, scales and arpeggios but still can’t play very creatively? If so, you are not alone – many guitarists are in the same boat. However, you shouldn’t make the same mistake as them. Don’t waste your time trying to learn as many new licks/scales/etc. as possible... this will NOT make you a more creative player.


The Four Keys To Making An Effective Guitar Practice Schedule
- by Tom Hess

How do you feel when practicing guitar for extended practice sessions and making few or no progress at all? Do you know why you are struggling to get better at guitar regardless all the time you are practicing?


How To Make 6-Figures Per Year Teaching Guitar & Turn So-So Guitar Students Into Great Players - by Tom Hess

Guitar teaching reality: you can achieve incredible success and earn great money teaching guitar whether you are a total beginner or have been teaching for many years. The world’s most profitable guitar teachers are not smarter than you and don’t have a lot more talent or potential than you... Fact is, they have all had to overcome the same (or greater) challenges than you in their guitar teaching journey.

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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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!

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.

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.

For further information, send your e-mail to: - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe or end your subscription. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc.

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