The Muse's News
||The Muse's News
|* Music Reviews - Ivan Nossa, Cyrus Rhodes, Don Sechelski & Dan Cohen
|* Featured Article: CRAFT YOUR SONGS TO INCREASE POTENTIAL FILM & TV USES!
- by Robin Frederick
Copyright 1998-2011 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.
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(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
WRITE BETTER SONGS WITH MASTERWRITER 2.0 - NEW HOLIDAY PRICE ONLY FOR A LIMITED TIME!
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MasterWriter's NEW Holiday price is now only $149 - You get
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The Muse's Muse! Take the Tour, Download a Free Trial, and get a $50 discount! Note
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Remember - this price is ONLY GOOD UNTIL THE END OF DECEMBER - so if you've been holding off, now is the time to order!
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday (those that celebrate it at this time of year) and that you spent much quality time with family and friends since last we spoke. :) This month's issue seems to have a theme of getting your songs licensed in films and TV. Robin Frederick has a great article on the subject. Keep an eye out for a review of her new book on the subject in a future issue. And there's even a 90 day course available about how to license your music for film and TV, put on by Aaron Davison (more information on that further down in the newsletter).
Lots of new CD reviews plus more online articles and a great Muse's Clues by Irene Jackson, along with a book review by our new reviewer, Anastasia.
So let's get right to the raffle winners, shall we? :) You remember the drill about how to get a prize, right? If not, it's below the current winners.
The lucky raffle winners this month are:
- Luigi Cappel, from Auckland, New Zealand, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
Daniel Compton, from Morrinsville, New Zealand, 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.
Caterina Eva Marx, from Bern, Switzerland, 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.
(Caterina, your email bounced (claiming you didn't have enough space) when I tried to contact you ... so if you could contact me when you see this newsletter (maybe from a different email address?), I'd appreciate it! Thanks!
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.)
Have a very Happy New Year, folks! And thanks again for subscribing. :)
Wishing you all the very best,
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
BRETT MANNING'S SINGING SUCCESS SYSTEMATIC VOCAL TRAINING SYSTEM:
It's the "secret weapon" used by some of the winners of the
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The package includes 12 audio CDs (packed with 17 repeatable
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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.
Great music is only a click away!
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.
Ann Mayo Muir - Genre: EASY LISTENING
Ann Mayo Muir composes original music emerging from a deep well of connection with the people and places she has known. Her CD,"Notes From Across The Sea" is a sinuous, snappy, energetic delight of interpretations with some pieces that feel American, many with a European twist, and a few that have run off with the Gypsies! Music played by Grammy nominated Ensemble Galilei.
Doug Spears - Genre: FOLK & TRADITIONAL
Thoughtful, intelligent lyrics in the style of Gordon Lightfoot and John Prine, memorable melodies, a warm, engaging acoustic guitar style and smooth, rich vocals reminiscent of John Denver. That??™s acoustic folk artist, Doug Spears. Doug's songs tell engaging stories mixing musical elements of Americana, bluegrass and acoustic folk. Turn off the TV and the cell phone and enjoy.
|Songwriting Book Review
By: Anastasia Karalekas
“1000 Songwriting Ideas”
by Lisa Aschmann
“There are no walls in your mind.’ … although there are lots of nooks and crannies” (p. 122)
Considering how many sources there are for songwriting ideas, it’s obvious that there are no limits as to what you can write about. Using the author’s motto “Dare to be stupid”, I opened my mind wide before jumping in. These ideas are far from stupid; rather, you just need to suspend all boundaries in order to come up with really original ones. And that’s precisely what the author does.
Packed with diversity and such a vast array of categories, you’ll find prompts that stir up a lot of emotions. Some evoke feelings of joy, some of sadness; others will compel you to find that perfect lyric; and some will even kick-start your creativity in an interestingly bizarre sort of way. These ideas really entice you to step out of your comfort zone (if you have one, that is). When I opened up this book, I tried writing three or four songs on three or four exercises, just to see what I’d come up with. I didn’t judge, or edit, or put too much emphasis on perfecting; I just wrote what came out of the inspiration. Let me tell you, the results were just as diverse as the categories, and I came up with songs I never imagined I’d write. I obviously have a comfort zone. : )
At the halfway point, there is a sort of “intermission”. Here, Aschmann shares some tips that she’s picked up along the way of her extensive career – like what are the main ingredients for writing a truly “good” song – as well as some of her own personal writing habits. There is even a section to go to when you need a pep talk or a confidence boost. And given that she writes about a song a day (!), it’s definitely advice worth taking.
You’ll find a nice glossary at the end, giving you a quick reference to the lingo. Beginners would benefit by keeping the book nearby during writing sessions. You can quickly flip to the appendix where you’ll find explanations of all the necessary key elements of songwriting.
This is one of those books that are essential to any songwriter’s library. It’s perfect for those times when you have an itch to write but nothing comes to mind; open up this book, and some part of your creativity will definitely be provoked. You’ll never be at a loss for inspiration, and one inspiration can go in many different directions. The possibilities are endless, and with this book, Aschmann has simply given us a mere 1000 points to start with.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Anastasia Karalekas is a self-taught guitarist and music absorber. When she is not learning, learning, learning, she spends her time writing fiction and poetry. After taking some private guitar lessons, her teacher encouraged her to try putting some of her poems to music, and she's been writing songs ever since.
If you'd like *your* book reviewed (as long as it has something
to do with songwriting, of course!), please do email us and let
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
The 90 Day Challenge Music Licensing Master Class
A friend of mine, Aaron Davison, is a Berklee College Of Music Alumnus and music licensing expert. In addition to licensing his own music for the last seven years, he’s also been teaching other musicians how to get involved in the music licensing business on his website, HowToLicenseYourMusic.com for the last two and a half years.
Aaron recently announced that he’ll be taking on a limited number of students as part of his upcoming course about the music licensing business called “The 90 Day Challenge Music Licensing Master Class”. The 90 Day Challenge is a 90 Day long program that teaches musicians how they can start licensing music in TV and Films. The course involves personal coaching with Aaron as well as daily licensing leads and video tutorials throughout the duration of the program. The 90 Day Challenge is a one of a kind course that will show you, in step by step detail, how to start licensing your music and making money. But he's only taking on 25 students for his upcoming course - and there are only a few spots left!
If you're interested, click here to learn more.
|Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
In the interest of conserving space, I will be including only
changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests
and market information that have already been listed here, are
displayed at http://www.musesmuse.com/contests.html &
Please check there regularly for updates!
THE 2010 SINGER/SONGWRITER AWARDS – ROUND 6
The Singer/Songwriter Awards from We Are Listening is about the hottest international songwriting contest in the world. It's no surprise that participating artists have gone on to sign with top management, license their music for film and television, as well as collaborate with renowned producers and enjoy substantial uplifts in independent record sales.
Deadline: Jan 1st 2010
2010 LYRIC WRITER AWARDS – ROUND 4
The Lyric Writer Awards from We Are Listening is the ultimate contest for writers seeking to turn their lyrics into professionally produced songwriter demos. If you long to have your lyrics set to music by a published songwriter and have some of the world’s most prominent session musicians play on your demo, this could really be the chance of a lifetime!
Deadline: 31st Dec 2010
16TH ANNUAL USA SONGWRITING COMPETITION BEGINS
16th Annual USA Songwriting Competition is now accepting entries. Winning songs will receive radio airplay in United States and Canada along with great prizes such as a Top Prize of over $50,000. Past winners include Alannah Myles, Ken Hirsch, Ari Gold, The Waifs, etc. First 1,000 entries will each receive a double bonus to Recording magazine and Premier Guitar magazine.
Submission deadline: May 31.
THE NEXT CLASSIC SONG CONTESTS
The Next Classic are free internet song contests for original holiday, country and wedding songs. TNC showcases songs that may not always be "cutting edge" according to current music trends, but rather, may stand the "test of time" for years to come. The Next Classic is also a new approach to the old "songwriting contest" concept. First of all, there is currently NO entry fee. Secondly, while winning the contest will be reward enough in itself, we'll also be working to make it only the first step in the exposure of your music. Thirdly, instead of relying on old technologies that stretched contests out for months at a time, we're working in the internet age. Submission, judging, voting, as well as determination and notification of winners can now be accomplished in a matter of a few weeks.
Upcoming Contests: The Next Holiday Classic , The Next Wedding Classic and The Next Country Classic Song Contests
NEW THIS YEAR! We welcome Springbarrel Songwriter Services as a major sponsor. Springbarrel has a distinguished history of representing the catalogs of some of the best songwriters in Nashville and we are honored by their participation. Their songwriting services provide an additional cash value of $1800 for qualifying songs which they will be actively seeking to license with major artist and media outlets.
HELP STARS UNCHARTED FEATURE THE BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC OUT THERE AND WIN GREAT PRIZES
Stars Uncharted is a new website that was created in order to feature the best music out there and encourage originality, creativity, imagination and authenticity. If you know a great solo artist / songwriter / band or want your music featured, Stars Uncharted offers prizes to whoever helps it feature extraordinary music. At the moment SU offers Sony PCMM10 Portable Linear PCM Recorders (List Price: $399.99) to anyone who introduces them to great music. Blow their virtual socks off and the music you suggest will be featured and you'll win a digital recorder.
MUSIKPITCH: NEW ONLINE MARKETPLACE FOR SONGWRITING OPPORTUNITIES
MusikPitch is a brand new website where songwriters can find the
latest opportunities from companies, studios, and individuals
looking for custom songs. It's a straightforward marketplace,
where you can get your music heard and win contracts, regardless
of your experience and location. New projects are posted daily —
from big name movie studios and company brands to non-profits and
schools. Start browsing for great new opportunities today! http://www.musikpitch.com
SONGWRITING CONSULTATION SPECIAL OFFER:
Pete and Pat Luboff are offering a special rate to Muse's Muse
readers on a single song consultation:
http://www.writesongs.com/consults.html MM readers get a $5
discount by sending $15 via PayPal to email@example.com instead of using the $20 single-song button on the site. Please
email the songs to the same address (mp3 attachment with the
lyrics in the body of the email - lyrics only are fine).
Response will be by email.
THE INDIE VENUE BIBLE - A GROUNDBREAKING VENUE DIRECTORY FOR ANY
ARTIST PLANNING TO TOUR IN THE US OR CANADA!
32,000 live music venues of all sizes are featured including
clubs, bars, restaurants, lounges, coffee shops, theaters, halls,
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mics. There are also 1,500 festivals listed as well as over
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Jumpstart your tour today!
Click here for more information!
Muse's Clues - By Irene Jackson
©1998-2010 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission
Last month I pointed you to the Beatles Songwriting Academy where Matt Blick
was in the midst of analyzing all of the Beatles' songs, and that gave me an
idea. One thing the Beatles were famous for was the abrupt change of the
time signature in the middle of a song, (i.e. in the song "All You Need Is
Love") but they were able to do this effectively and seamlessly in a way
that it never seemed unnatural. And Paul Simon has often spoken about his"backward" way of writing songs, sometimes creating a rhythm pattern first
and then writing on top of that.
So this month I'm going to send you to a couple of websites that deal with
rhythm and time signatures to help you brush up or maybe even introduce you
to the math behind the rhythm of music. If you're like me, you don't write
out melodies on staff paper, just lyrics and chords. I did learn to read
music when I played clarinet in school, but I never applied it to my
songwriting, and unless you've learned to read music too, the whole concept
of time signatures may be a mystery to you.
First of all, we need to understand what a time signature is. If you've
never quite grasped that musical concept, here is a decent beginner lesson
by Catherine Schmidt-Jones:
You can listen to examples as well as a little lesson on reading notes,
which may come in handy.
Once you establish for yourself what a time signature is, you might enjoy
reading this lesson by a blogger named Gryffonius called "Odd Time
Signatures Made Easy":
In it, Gryffonius describes time signatures again, and then goes onto giving
some examples of odd or changing time signatures in well known songs of
To give you some ideas (and maybe some lessons) on guitar strumming patterns
and rhythms, Darren Armentrout has created a whole website dedicated
specifically to guitar strumming, called, appropriately Strum Patterns
(http://www.strumpatterns.com) where you can find all kinds of patterns in
different signatures to try out. Sometimes coming up with a pattern can
inspire a new song, so try them all!
I surfed the web for a long time looking for a similar thing for piano, but
it wasn't as easy! The only thing I managed to find was a malicious site
that started downloading something on my computer...but I will keep looking
for a website that addresses rhythm techniques for piano. If you know of
such a site, email me and let me know!
Rhythm and time signatures are often bypassed by songwriters because most of
us write in repetitive patterns and common time. So stretch yourself and
see if coming up with some new rhythms or signatures might actually inspire
a new song!
Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in
Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also
maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles
and a songwriter's messageboard.
Songwriting Tips: http://www.irenejackson.com/tips.html
Featured Article - By Robin Frederick
CRAFT YOUR SONGS TO INCREASE POTENTIAL FILM & TV USES!
Each year, tens of thousands of songs are used in film and TV projects. These songs earn licensing fees, performance royalties, and income from sales on iTunes. This is a market worth aiming for and it's wide open to independent artists, bands, and songwriters like you!
For every song that's placed in a film, TV show, or commercial, many are auditioned - often hundreds - but only one is chosen. The song that will get the job is the one that most effectively heightens the impact and memorability of the scene for viewers.
Is a character discovering real love for the first time? A song can be used to underscore and enhance that feeling for the audience. Is the film set in a small town in the 1950s? A song can vividly recall the era. Always remember: the song serves the needs of the scene.
With that in mind, it may seem a little strange that the vast majority of songs that are placed in film and TV are written and recorded first, then pitched to these projects. Often, the songs are part of an artist or band's CD. While the song is being written and recorded, there's no way to know if, or how, it will eventually be used in a film or TV show BUT you can craft your songs to increase your chances for a placement in this market.
WHAT MAKES A SONG EFFECTIVE FOR FILM & TV?
LYRICS: A good lyric for film and TV is universal enough to allow the song to be used in a variety of scenes while still maintaining integrity, originality, and focus. Of course, no song will work for every scene but some themes and situations occur more frequently in film and TV shows, such as falling in love, overcoming adversity, becoming an individual, plus conflicts of all kinds as well as celebrations. If you choose one of these as a general theme for your song and you focus on the emotions that come up, you'll be more likely to get a placement. Watch a few TV episodes and look for common themes. Chances are you're already using some of them in your songs.
Imagery, emotional detail, and a fresh approach to your theme will add muscle to a universal lyric, making it more appealing to film and TV. On the other hand, too many details, like place names, proper names, dates, or a story that's too specific to your own circumstances, will limit the uses.
MUSIC: Filmmakers have always used instrumental music to communicate mood, energy, and atmosphere to the audience, from soaring love themes to the high anxiety of a fast-paced action cue. As songs have grown in popularity with viewers, they're being used to replace some of that instrumental music. A song that works well for film and TV is one that, like an instrumental cue, uses melody, chords, tempo, and rhythm to evoke a single mood or energy level.
If you've written an uptempo song about a wild party or a slow song about lost love, you're already using tempo and rhythm to express energy. Songwriters often do this instinctively. You can hone that ability for the film and TV market by making a conscious effort to make your music even more expressive. Like a film composer, choose a pace (tempo) and groove that physically express the energy level you want, then back it up with melody and lyrics to support that energy. Got an upbeat, bouncy groove? Add a syncopated melody with plenty of unexpected leaps between notes and a lyric that's filled with fresh, fun images. If your song's theme is young love, it could be used in hundreds of scenes in which a couple of teens or twenty-somethings meet and fall in love.
WATCH, LISTEN, AND LEARN
Like an actor, a song in a film, TV episode, or commercial has a role to play. The theme, lyric language, musical arrangement, and singer's voice must work together to create an emotional moment for the audience. Watch films and TV shows that use songs. Here are just a few primetime TV dramas that use between two and ten songs per episode: The Vampire Diaries, Grey's Anatomy, Smallville, Friday Night Lights, One Tree Hill, 90210, Life Unexpected, Gossip Girl, and there are many more. You can find a complete list at TuneFind.com.
As you watch these shows, notice how the songs underscore, reinforce, or deepen the viewer's experience of the characters or situation. These are often strong songs that can stand alone as songs, expressing the artist's creativity and message, yet they offer the film and TV industry what it needs. This is the sweet spot where you want to be. You've got good songs; now make them good film and television songs!
TRY IT NOW!
Start studying the market by listening for songs in TV commercials, films, and prime time TV drama series like Grey's Anatomy and The Vampire Diaries. Could you write a song like that? Download a TV episode with a song in it - iTunes offers episodes of most popular TV series for just $1.99. Watch the scene a few times, then turn the sound off and write a song of your own that enhances the mood, atmosphere, or energy.
Copyright 2010 Robin Frederick. All rights reserved.
Based on "Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV" available at Amazon.com
About Robin Frederick:
Robin has written more than 500 songs for television, records, theater, and audio products. She is a former Director of A&R for Rhino Records, Executive Producer of 60 albums, and the author of "Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting." Robin currently oversees the A&R Team for TAXI, the world's leading independent A&R company. For songwriting tips visit www.Twitter.com/RobinFrederick.
|"ON SITE" FEATURED ARTICLE(S)
The Four Faders of Songwriting Success
- by Bill Pere
A well written song may never gain mass appeal, and a song with mass appeal might not be a well written song. The factors affecting a song's popularity and the degree of craft it exhibits are separate, like different channels on a mixing board. This article shows how these factors interact, like faders on a mixing board, to yield an overall blend of craft, effectiveness, and appeal.
Sorting Out Percentages of Song Ownership - by Mary Dawson
It can be somewhat of a "sticky wicket" to determine percentages of song ownership when each contributor / writer furnishes different elements. In this question, Mary answers such a question when it involves foreign co-writes and translations.
Be Yo' Sef - Some Thoughts On Playing Solo - by Mick Polich
Be yourself - that's all anyone can ask of us as musicians and artists. Mick throws a few brief thoughts out on re-arranging songs to work for you.
How To Play Guitar Fast - Avoiding Critical Mistakes In Learning To Increase Your Guitar Speed
- by Tom Hess
Learn several highly effective ways of improving your guitar speed and becoming a better guitar player.
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THE 11th EDITION OF THE INDIE BIBLE IS NOW AVAILABLE!
The Indie Bible shows you where to get your music reviewed, your
songs played, and your CDs sold. Now in its Seventh Edition, The
Indie Bible has 330 pages of valuable contacts and music-related
The 11th Edition of the Indie Bible contains:
4200 publications around the world that will REVIEW your CD!
3400 radio stations around the world that will PLAY your songs!
500 vendors and services that will help you to SELL your music!
200 sites where you can UPLOAD your band's MP3 files!
500 helpful resources and sites where you can PROMOTE your band!
52 articles that will help your career to MOVE forward rapidly!
Listings include web, e-mail and physical address, as well as
phone and fax numbers.
Click here for details and to order online
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
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
Be the best songwriter you can be and purchase Lyricist
THE SUCCESSFUL SONGWRITER MOTIVATION & MEDITATION AUDIO
Inspired by the songwriter's journey, and through understanding
the principles talked about in "THE SECRET", this audio program
is specifically created for the songwriter based on those
findings. Through Power of Thought and Understanding the Law of
Attraction, you will have the tools, knowledge & ability to
create the thoughts, experiences, and circumstances to be a
phenomenally Successful Songwriter. Included is a guided
meditation that is as passionate as it is empowering!
Muse's Muse Visitors - Enter Promo Code: 42567 for Discount.
Limited Introductory Offer of $12.95 for Digital Download
Discounts for CD, and CD/Digital Download Combo shown on ordering
INDIE-MUSIC.COM - WHERE SERIOUS MUSICIANS SURF
One of the most respected and imitated indie music sites on the
web, Indie-Music.com has been serving the Independent Music
Community since 1996 with streaming audio, monthly CD Reviews,
huge industry search directory, success-building resources,
classifieds, and much-needed recognition. The site offers a
wealth of information to artists trying to survive & thrive in
today's competitive music industry.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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